FORMER national footballer Aurtis Whitley, 43, suffered a minor stroke, on Friday.
Newsday confirmed the news, which is understood to be "a minor disruption in the feeling of his foot due to his Velcro veins in his legs."
Whitley, who was a member of the T&T squad at the 2006 Germany World Cup, made 41 appearances for the national team from 2000 to 2008. He played for several local clubs during his career including W Connection and San Juan Jabloteh. He played for Jabloteh for the majority of his career from 1998 to 2007.
Terry Fenwick, current national senior men's football coach, coached Whitley at Jabloteh. Fenwick said, "I trained him when I first came to Trinidad (in the late 1990s) with Jabloteh and he was probably my most outstanding player. Obviously, I am very pleased to hear that it is nothing too serious, but I would hope that he looks after himself and whatever is necessary he keeps on top of."
His former national team-mate Densill Theobald said, "Upon hearing the news of my good friend and former team-mate Aurtis Whitley having a stroke, I made a couple calls just to confirm if that information was true or not."
After confirming the news, Theobald wished Whitley a speedy recovery. "I just want to take this opportunity to wish my good friend Aurtis Whitley (the best), who I hope to speak with in the next couple days after his recovery from his minor stroke that he suffered today (Friday)."
Theobald, who played 99 times for the national team from 2002 to 2013, said it has not been the best of times for T&T football after two national players died in car accidents last year. "Knowing that we lost Jason Marcano and Shahdon Winchester – former footballers, former friends of us recently – it grieves your heart to know that another friend could have suffered that same fate...I really hope that it is nothing that is going to hamper or affect him in the long run and I hope he recovers 150 per cent." Marcano and Winchester died in May 2019 and December 2019 respectively.
Kerry Baptiste, Whitley's former team-mate at Jabloteh for several years, said, "I will be saying a prayer for him and his family...I leave it in God hands because only God could help him in the situation he is in right now."
Baptiste, who has 51 caps for T&T from 2003 and 2010, said when he signed with Jabloteh as an 18-year-old he was fortunate to play alongside top players such as Whitley and Marvin Faustin.
"That was good years with Aurtis. He was a remarkable player to be alongside...I always used to be inspired by Aurtis, the way he played. He was a fascinating player on the field."
Baptiste said representing T&T at a World Cup is an accomplishment that nobody can take away from Whitley. "Knowing this man qualify and made history, the only and first World Cup for the country. I was involved in that (lead up) campaign and knowing I played with this man and he did that, it was something big for me."
SOURCE: T&T Newsday