Tonbridge Angels are looking forward to seeing upwards of one hundred young people being screened next month thanks to the Ryman Premier club’s Football Fight Back campaign.
The latest screening session for students at the Hugh Christie Technology College in Tonbridge on Tuesday 8 November comes after the total raised for the campaign to fight cardiac risk in the young passed the £30,000 mark in recent days.
Tonbridge Angels chairman Steve Churcher has told the club’s fans they can be proud of their efforts for the campaign which was launched last season after an undisclosed heart condition was blamed for the death Junior Dian following his collapse on the pitch during a pre-season friendly at Whyteleafe.
The 23-year-old was the second Angels player in seven years to pass away in tragic circumstances for lack of screening following the death of Jack Maddams and the club teamed up with the Kent FA and the charity C-R-Y (Cardiac Risk in the Young) to launch the successful campaign after members vowed to everything possible to prevent similar tragedies occurring in the future.
Two hundred more young people are due to be screened in February at the Longmead Stadium and Churcher said: “When these tragedies happened we could have grieved and simply left it at that. With 12 young people in the UK dying each week through undetected heart issues the club decided enough was enough, and so Football Fightback was born.
“Supporters and others associated with the club, including Roger Maddams, a father of one of those players who passed away, have worked extremely hard to raise £30,000 through various fund raising efforts.
“We are now seeing the fruits of everyone’s labours with over 700 young people including the Hugh Christie event having now received screening. I think that for a modest Non-League club such as ours this is a fantastic achievement.”
Defender Dian collapsed on the pitch while playing for Angels against Whyteleafe in a pre-season friendly at Church Road on Tuesday 7 July 2015. Despite being treated at the scene by the medical teams of both clubs, he died hours later at St George’s Hospital in south west London.
Awareness in recent years around the dangers of sudden cardiac arrests in football were first heightened in March 2012 when former England U21 star Fabrice Muamba made a remarkable recovery after suffering a cardiac arrest while playing for Bolton Wanderers against Tottenham Hotspur in an FA Cup tie at White Hart Lane.
Sadly, football was hit by a fresh tragedy earlier this month when former Hull City youth team star Danny Wilkinson collapsed on the pitch while playing for Shaw Lane against Brighouse Town in a Northern Premier League cup game and later died. His death on Monday 12 September was later blamed on an undetected underlying heart condition – Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (AVRC).
To stay in touch with the campaign on Twitter follow at @FBFightback. To donate to the Football Fight Back campaign: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/footballfightback.