D/Force coach, Ross Russell, in high spirits following health scare

Ex-national stars among well-wishers

 Defence Force head coach Ross Russell

Defence Force head coach Ross Russell has been undergoing numerous tests and scans at West Shore Medical in Port of Spain, where he admitted himself on Tuesday following a health scare at his home in Diego Martin.

Russell said he admitted himself into the private health facility on Tuesday after feeling “weakness about the body and numbness on his entire left side”.

The 46-year-old army sergeant wants to believe “it wasn’t a stroke or even a mild stroke”. But believes that his present health condition can lead to either if he doesn’t take precautionary measures.

“It’s not a stroke,” said Russell. “Although it had some signs of a stroke. I believe I was more or less running myself into the ground. I must now take better care of my health in terms of proper rest, diet and so on.”

He admitted however, the sudden health scare doesn’t mean a break from football.

“I would be back on the job as soon as I can. This situation has nothing to do with my coaching or even playing the sport (on a recreational level). It’s just what I do after football, when I don’t rest properly and don’t eat the right things and so on.”

Since admitting himself into the private hospital and has been under medical supervision, Russell, said he has undergone numerous checks and tests, including MRIs and an ultra sound. The army coach said he is awaiting the visit of a specialist and expects results of the MRIs by Thursday, the day he also expects to be discharged from West Shore Medical.
Defence Force players during a penalty shootout in the 2013/14 season
Since his arrival at hospital, former T&T football stars Stern John, Ancil Elcock and Arnold Dwarika have been among Russell’s visitors.

“Even Dennis Lawrence called me from England wishing me well,” explained Russell. “The hospital staff wanted to know if I’m that famous, till they heard my name, because of the influx of people coming in to visit me.

“The support is great; everyone that has called and visited to share there support and prayers. My son (Ross Russell Jr.) has been at my bedside the entire time. My players have been making visits and I must thank the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force for giving me their full support.”

Russell, who has been the most successful Defence Force coach in recent years, winning two Pro League titles, the First Citizens Cup and the Digicel Pro Bowl during spell, also serves the Trinidad and Tobago Under 17 team, where he doubles as assistant coach and goalkeeper coach, being a former national goalkeeper.

The T&T U17 team is scheduled to leave Trinidad on Monday for St Lucia for the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) qualifying stage towards the Chile 2015 FIFA Under 17 World Cup.

Russell has also been preparing the Defence Force top-flight team for the 2014/15 Pro League season, and in his absence able assistant coach Marvin Gordon will run the training sessions.

Last season was trophyless for the Defence Force football team but more so a traumatic 2013/14 as 30-year-old club and T&T winger Kevon Carter died of a heart attack on 28 February 2014 and two months earlier defender Rawle Fletcher was murdered in his hometown, Couva.