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Apprentice reject Ben Clarke: one blow to the head could’ve killed me

By Lesley-Anne Henry

Former Apprentice star Ben Clarke has been forced to abandon his latest reality TV challenge over fears for his health.

The 23-year-old from Belfast has had to pull out of RTE’s ‘Lords of the Ring’ after a routine scan showed he had potentially lethal swelling at the base of his brain.

The ex-Campbell College student has been training hard for the charity boxing tournament and was left devastated after doctors warned him not to take part.

“I’d a few headaches during training but I never thought they were due to something like this.

“Then I got a phone call from the consultant who did routine MRA and MRI scans organised by RTE at the Ulster Hospital.

“He warned me that if I were to take a hard knock to the head it could result in bleeding to the brain and could be fatal.

”My whole world has fallen down around me, I thought I was invincible.

“But if they hadn’t found out about this before I started fighting on the show it could have been the end for me,” he said.

Ben, who has been mentored by former boxing champion Barry McGuigan, was due to take on big names such as former Manchester United footballer Lee Sharpe, comedian Alan Shortt and ‘Fair City' star MacLean Burke, in the TV show, which is aired next week.

“We’d all just finished a race pushing hay bales at our training camp when I got the call from the consultant. He told me that my tests were back and said that if I were to take a blow to the head it could result in bleeding to the brain,” Ben said.

“The scan showed something was wrong with my carotid artery. The consultant said that if I were a professional I would never get a licence to box. He said I should not get back into the ring.

“Then top neurosurgeons saw the results and gave a second opinion — they too warned me not to fight,” he told the News of the World.

Ben, who used to work as a stockbroker in the City of London, said he has been left shocked by the news.

“Having to give up on this show is even worse than when I was axed from The Apprentice. All I know is that if they hadn’t found out about this on time I could have gotten a bad bang to my head and it could have been too late,” he added.

Meanwhile a spokeswoman for RTE confirmed that Ben has had to drop out on the advice of doctors.

She said: “Ben has had to pull out of the show after a medical test, MRI scan and MRA scans and something came up that needs further investigation.

“We are all very disappointed.”

Ben is to be replaced by Big Brother 4 star Ray Shah.

Belfast Telegraph

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