A RANGERS defender has backed a new project based in Drumchapel aimed at tackling the country’s biggest health problems.

Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS) is launching the new “Health Defence” project in June to reduce the risk of stroke, chest and heart conditions.

Ibrox central defender Connor Goldson feared he would have to retire from football after a specialist noticed something unusual with his heart during a routine check-up.

He was later diagnosed with an enlarged aorta which, without surgery, could have been fatal. Now the football player has opened up about life since his heart operation.

The 26-year-old said: “It was just a routine check-up when they found the problem with my heart. It was a huge shock; I was terrified I’d never play again.

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“It’s really scary to think of what could have happened if I hadn’t found out about my heart problem. I was really lucky.”

Speaking about the new project, he added: “It’s a great thing that CHSS is doing. It’s so important for people to find out their health risks and make positive changes.”

The charity is looking for volunteer coaches to provide support to local people.

Their project will see the volunteers provide health checks, healthy living workshops and ongoing support to people as they make changes to improve their health.

Connor said: “Make your time matter and volunteer with the Health Defence Team. You’ll be helping people in Glasgow make changes to their lifestyle so that they can live a longer and healthier life. When you have a health scare like I did it makes you realise how precious life is.”

Glasgow has the highest rate of deaths from heart disease in people under the age of 75, and the highest rate of deaths relating to long-term lung condition, COPD.

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In 2017 the life expectancy for both males and females in Scotland was lowest in Glasgow.

Joanna Teece, of CHSS, said: “Too often where you live in Scotland determines how long you live for. We must do everything we can to tackle these health inequalities head-on.”

“Parts of Glasgow have a history of poor health and low life expectancy, that’s why we’re starting the programme here.

“By supporting people in their communities and providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to live a healthier life we can make a change.

“This is people’s chance to get onside, volunteer with us and defend Scotland’s health. We’ll match you with someone who you can check in on, motivate and cheer on as they make healthy changes.”