ULSTER and Ireland are clinging to the hope that stricken flanker Chris Henry can make a complete recovery and resume his professional career after the IRFU confirmed that he had undergone corrective heart surgery this week.
The full facts concerning Henry’s treatment were finally able to be publicised by his employers last night after an extremely fraught few weeks for family and supporters.
The Ulster player had originally suffered a “temporary blockage of a small blood vessel in his brain” after being taken ill three weeks ago.
It is now hoped that the 30-year-old can make a full recovery after this necessary corrective procedure.
“Chris is recovering from a procedure to repair a defect in his heart wall,” said the IRFU in a statement produced with the joint assistance of the international and provincial medical teams.
“This was found to be related to his recent episode and has been performed to prevent further issues.”
It is hoped that this latest, definitive update can lead to a positive outcome and assuage the player, his family and his significant swathe of supporters.
“We’re waiting for the staff to give us an update on how successful that was and we will see over the next few days,” said Ulster team manager Bryn Cunningham.
“What we’re concerned about is that he makes a full recovery and we are quite confident that he will, according to the feedback that we have had.
“Chris is a massive favourite here at the Kingspan Stadium and the crowd will obviously want to see him back.
“But only on the basis that the medical staff are absolutely confident that he is 100pc fit.
“It has been very difficult for Chris and his family.
“If he gets back to playing professional rugby again, that will be fantastic and that’s what we are hoping.”