UK

Footballer Junior Dian Collapses And Dies During Game Age 23, Renewing Calls For Improved Player Safety

08/07/2015 15:47 BST | Updated 08/07/2015 15:59 BST

A young footballer has died after collapsing part-way through a pre-season friendly, as safety concerns were raised at an inquest about another on field death.

Junior Dian, 23, fell to the ground during the second half as he played for Kent-based Tonbridge Angels at Whyteleafe FC in Surrey on Tuesday night.

Two physios frantically tried to revive him, along with two paramedics who attended the ground, before he was transferred to St George's Hospital in Tooting.

junior dian

Junior Dian collapsed during a game of football, and died Wednesday in hospital

Dian, who was a trialist at Tonbridge Angels, was pronounced dead early Wednesday.

Tonbridge chairman Steve Churcher said: "This is devastating news and our only crumb of comfort is that Junior lost his life doing something he obviously enjoyed so much.

"All our thoughts and sympathies are with his family. Also, I would like to thank everyone at Whyteleafe FC for their support and professionalism during this very distressing incident yesterday evening."

junior dian

Dian's death prompted calls for more emphasis to be put on player safety

Tributes have been paid to Dian on Twitter where concerns about player safety were also raised.

Meanwhile, a coroner is to speak with the football association and Stoke Gifford United after the death of Ben Hilcox, 30, in March.

Hilcox was playing for Stoke at its home ground when he slid into its clubhouse while making a tackle. He died in hospital two days later.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Deputy Avon Coroner Terence Moore described it as a tragedy which should not be repeated, the BBC reported.

Mr Moore said he would write to the FA, Stoke Gifford United and the parish council, which owns the ground, about the size of the "run-off" around the pitch.

The clubhouse was about two metres from the edge of the pitch - the FA recommends a minimum of three metres for lower league clubs.

ben hiscox

Ben Hiscox, right, died after hitting a football clubhouse during a game in March

Mr Hiscox's father Clive said his son's death had been "an awful freak accident" and said he wanted to ensure the pitch was fixed so no one else had to "experience the pain and suffering we have".

In the wake of Dian's death, Dr Steven Cox, Cardiac Risk in the Young Director of Screening and Research, has called for more young people to undergo cardiac testing. But not because deaths of young people in sport were increasing.

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Since the collapse of Fabrice Muamba in March 2012, "there has been a significant increase in awareness of young sudden cardiac death, especially in football", he said.

However, that awareness did not mean more young people were dying of heart problems while competing in sport.

“Tragically, we have also recently seen the shock and devastation when an apparently fit and healthy athlete – often at the peak of their career – collapses and dies on the ‘pitch’ or shortly afterwards. In April and May of this year, international footballers Tim Nicot and Gregory Mertens and Welsh international rugby player, Danny Jones, all died from previously undiagnosed heart conditions.

“This has led to the view and possibly, misapprehension, that the incidence of these young, sudden cardiac deaths in sport are increasing."

danny jones rugby wales

Welsh international Danny Jones died of a previously undiagnosed heart conditions

Dr Cox said the deaths were always well publicised because "these athletes represent the fittest sector of our society", but the vast majority of the 12 "fit and healthy young people" who die suddenly each week in the UK alone, are not elite athletes.

He said sport does not cause "young sudden cardiac death", but it did increase the risk threefold if a person has an underlying condition they are unaware of. Because of this Dr Cox believes more young people should have their heart tested.

Dr Cox said: “Although screening will not identify all young people at risk, in Italy, where screening is mandatory for all young people engaged in organised sport, they have reduced the incidence of young sudden cardiac death by 89%.”

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