Tonbridge Angels lead fund raising campaign to raise funds so 600 footballers around Kent can be screened at a cost of £35 per player

Monday 20th July 2015

TONBRIDGE ANGELS have confirmed that they will be introducing heart screening for all its players, together with other Kent footballers between the ages of 14 and 35.

The programme will be up and running within the next six months.

This follows the tragic death of defender Junior Dian, 24, who collapsed and subsequently passed away while playing for the Angels during a pre-season friendly match at Whyteleafe on Tuesday, 7 July 2015.

The cost of such screening is £35 per player, which in the eyes of the club seems a small price to pay if a life can be saved.

The Ryman Premier League club – a family oriented community club -  is leading a campaign, with other Kent and south-east clubs and sporting bodies to raise £21,000 which will provide screening for 600 players across Kent.

The campaign will be undertaken alongside C-R-Y Cardiac Risk in the Young – -  a charity that promotes the prevention of young sudden cardiac deaths through awareness, screening and research, together with the provision of support for affective families.

Various fund raising activities to be announced very soon are currently being planned but already a donations on line page has been set up to which anyone can subscribe.

The address is with monies raised going towards the first three screening dates which are the weekends of 9-10 January 2016, 20-21 February 2016 and 9-10 April 2016.

News of the campaign will appear regularly on a dedicated website to be set up shortly with the address, while a Twitter feed @FBFightback is up and running.

Tonbridge Angels chairman Steve Churcher said: “Since the tragic events of that Tuesday evening, I’ve learnt that 12 apparently fit and healthy young people die suddenly in the UK every week.

“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%, which is an incredible statistic.”

Melvin Slight, the Tonbridge physio who along with his counterpart from Whyteleafe Bob Hempstead did all they could to keep Dian alive, added: “None of us who witnessed a young man losing his life the other Tuesday evening ever wish to have to go through that experience again.

“If through Football Fightback we identify just one person with a minor heart defect then it is a small price to play.

“We need to take something positive from this tragic experience and to create a legacy from Junior’s untimely passing.”

Meanwhile, Cray Valley’s physio, Emily Sawyer, confirmed yesterday that she takes a defibrillator with her to the dug-out at every game and has told the Eltham based Southern Counties East Football League club to have the life-saving equipment available at every game that takes place at their Badgers Sports Ground on Middle Park Avenue.

Despite sending an email to Tracey Crouch, the Kent based Sports Minister following the tragedy at Church Road, have yet received a response.

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