West Ham United's players underwent a series of health screening tests on Monday to make sure they are in the best possible condition ahead of the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League season.

A range of healthcare professionals, including staff from the Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) heart screening charity, an optician and a dentist visited the Club's Chadwell Heath training ground on Monday to run the rule over the entire first team squad.

Hammers head of medical Stijn Vandenbroucke told West Ham TV how useful the screening process would prove over the course of the season.

"Monday was the screening day for the players," he said. "They came in groups of four from 8am to 7pm and we screen the heart, which is compulsory for the Premier League and the FA, we screen the teeth which are important and connected with the prevention of injury. We also screen their eyes because it's obviously important for players to see the ball!

"It's important not to have any surprises during the season, because if you have a painful tooth that may cost you one or two games.

"So we try to be proactive on it and deal with it before the season. Everyone is looking very good - body weight, fat percentage and condition-wise. I have no complaints with that thanks to my sports science department, who gave a very good off-season programme to the players, and to the players themselves for following them very well. I'm happy."

Professor Sanjay Sharma, a Professor of Inherited Cardiovascular Conditions and Sports Cardiology at St George's Hospital in London, and representing the team from CRY, explained the importance of identifying players with potential heart problems across all sports.

He said:  "We're here with the Cardiac Risk in the Young screening team to test all the players for conditions of the heart that could result in sudden cardiac death.

"We're making the players fill in a health questionnaire which asks them about symptoms of heart disease and their family history. The latter is quite important because most of the conditions which cause sudden death in sportsmen are genetic.

"Clearly if there's a football player whose father died at 40 or so, that makes us slightly more concerned about how detailed we are with our assessment.

"We also do an electrocardiogram (ECG) which gives us some idea of electrical faults of the heart and a cardiac ultrasound, which gives us some ideas of abnormalities, if any, of cardiac structure. This is the most important test because it picks up very serious conditions, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which are the commonest causes of sudden cardiac death in sportsmen.

"Being here at West Ham, one thing we can never forget is the brilliance of Marc-Vivien Foe, who played here and went on to die three or four years later during a Confederations Cup game, which was televised [in 2003].

"That really did create shockwaves in the entire sporting community and we have come a long way in the ten years since. We saw what happened with Fabrice Muamba, we saw the awareness, the speed with which the doctors and paramedics were on the pitch, and those amazing heroic efforts on the pitch, which led to a young man who is alive and kicking now.

"The Premier League should be acknowledged for what they're doing in this field - it's very laudable and in general every single club ensures their players are tested once a year.

"I'm delighted to report that everyone at West Ham is in good health and also in very good shape with the season coming up."


The players went through tests on their hearts, eyes and teeth

For Diego Poyet, recently signed from Charlton Athletic, such an extensive examination was something new.

"Monday was a new experience for me, it's the first time I've done it, but apparently everything has gone fine so I'm pleased with that," he confirmed. "The awareness when it comes to heart screening is growing all the time, especially when you think of cases like Fabrice Muamba's.

"It's important for players to know that they're well whilst they're playing, but also for when they stop."