It's one of those headlines you just can't ignore: "Alfie so perky again after having open heart surgery and a new valve made of..pig's tissue." Yes, you read that right!
Our very own Alfie Rutherford was certainly making national newspaper headlines over the weekend as The Daily Mirror and Daily Star told their millions of readers about his inspirational story.
Dorking fans will remember the 25 year old became the youngest National League cardiac patient when he underwent surgery at Southampton General last November.
Doctors believe Alfie was probably born with aortic stenosis but didn't suffer symptoms. However, about 12 months ago, a scan showed his aortic valve was shrinking. "If I hadn't had the valve done it would have narrowed and it wouldn't have been able to pump enough blood around my body. I would have been struggling to breathe," he explained.
Surgeons had to saw through Alfie's chestbone to replace the valve with pig tissue. He then had to rest up for three months to avoid any stress on his sternum, which had been wired back together after the op. "The surgeons were incredible and I can't thank them enough" Alfie added.
"When people say doctors and heart specialists should be paid more than footballers, I agree with them."
Alfie also underwent knee ligament surgery while he was away, after he'd torn his anterior cruciate against Wrexham. But his comeback is well underway and he's recently joined Bognor Regis in the Isthmian League Premier for some much-needed game time before returning to the Wanderers in a months’ time. Alfie added "I can't wait to feel the grass between my feet and to experience the rush of playing football again."