THE sudden death of talented Bexleyheath schoolboy Philip Lamin has brought back painful memories for one campaigning Bickley family.
Sixteen-year-old Philip suffered a heart attack while playing football with his friends after school last Tuesday afternoon. (Feb 5)
And the dad of Ravens Wood school pupil Ben Daniels who died of an undetected heart problem almost two years ago believes the UK should follow Italy’s lead and make cardiac testing compulsory for youngsters who play sport.
Talented sportsman Ben 15, collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest while training with his Shortlands football team Ex Blues in March 2011, and died three days later in hospital.
In Ben’s memory his family teamed up with charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) to launch the Ben Daniels Memorial Fund which has raised more than £60,000 to help try to reduce the number of similar tragedies.
Twelve a week
CRY estimates at least 12 apparently fit and healthy young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions in the UK each week.
His dad Paul, 51, told News Shopper: “I think young sportsmen and women should be tested for their cardiac health before they play organised sport. If they can do it in Italy, why can’t we do it here?
“And if we can do it at the elite level why can’t we do it at grass roots level where the real problem lies?”
Screening costs £35 per person and is a painless non-invasive five minute process and where small stickers known as electrodes are placed on the client's chest that are connected by wires to an ECG machine.
Launched in March last year, Ben’s memorial fund has helped pay for CRY’s research into detecting heart conditions and screening sessions at the Old Elthamians Sports Club in Chislehurst and Ravens Wood School, Bromley.
The screenings tested a total of 235 youngsters and eight were discovered to have a heart abnormality and referred to CRY for further examination.
On reading news of Philip’s death, Paul, of Clarence Road, Bickley said: “I want to offer my absolute sincere condolences to Philip’s family, they’re going through hell, it’s awful.
“There are 11 other families in the UK a week who are going through the same thing.
“I don’t know the circumstances of what happened but my heart goes out to the family, it really does.
“You ask yourself why has this happened and when you get to understand CRY and what they do and campaigning for to understand the depth and breadth of the problem in the UK.
“Philip, I am sure is exactly the same as Ben – fit, healthy, without a care in the world. But they become one of the statistics.”
Ben’s family have arrange for three more screening sessions at Old Elthamians Sports Club and Ravens Wood School later this year.
CRY say more than 10,000 young people, aged 14 to 35, have died suddenly from undiagnosed heart condition since the organisation was founded in 1995.
Dr Steve Cox, director of screening at the charity, said 80 per cent of these deaths happened without any prior symptoms.
He said: “Although screening will not identify all young people at risk, in Italy, they have reduced the incidence of young sudden cardiac death by 90 per cent.
“This is because sport - whilst it does not actually cause sudden cardiac death - can significantly increase a young person’s risk if they have an underlying condition.”