Ex-Leeds Rhinos player Greg Eastwood underwent Heart Surgery this week after he blacked out on two separate occasions in pre-season training.

The Canterbury Bulldogs prop started feeling dizzy while driving to training a few weeks ago, suffering a loss of vision and nearly crashing with his teammates as passengers.

Following this, Eastwood had a number of tests on his heart and brain, however specialists were unable to find any issues and the 30-year-old was cleared to return.

But after another arduous pre-season training session, the father of five again suffered with an Irregular Heartbeat, with a stress test showing his heart racing from 140 to 250 beats per minute.

“I was very scared and it was all a bit weird,” Eastwood told The Sun-Herald. “After the specialist picked up the issue I was sent to another doctor who confirmed I had an irregular heartbeat.

“My heart was just racing. I didn’t need to be told how dangerous this was. I play a physically demanding sport so it leaves me vulnerable to black outs and cardiac arrests.

“There was no debating that I had to have the operation. It’s very scary as we are talking about surgery on the heart and it’s not something you never expect to happen to you.”

The Kiwi international underwent the procedure during the week and a series of follow-up tests will determine if he can return to the field next week.

Eastwood has played over 100 NRL games since he re-signed with the Bulldogs following an unsuccessful stint with Leeds in Super League.

The Rhinos signed the Auckland-born forward for big money in 2010; however, he struggled to settle at the club and made just 21 appearances that season before returning Down Under.

Retirement loomed

Recent years has seen Eastwood have a number of injury setbacks, making just 33 appearances in the last two seasons, but his time in the game could have been over completely.

If results from the operation showed he required a pacemaker, it is likely that Eastwood would have had to retire, something he was prepared to do for the sake of his family.

“I had to take a step back and look at the bigger picture," he said. "My wife was very worried, we have five kids and hearing that I have a heart problem at 30 is hard to take in.

"I'm just very thankful that they were able to burn off the extra heartbeat and I can return to how things were. In situations like this family is what matters, not footy.

"I'm hoping to get back training next week. The last few weeks have been tough but that’s life and things could have been worse.

"You take the good with the bad and it makes you appreciate everything you have that little bit more.”