Saturday screening to save lives

Tonbridge Angels are looking forward to screening many more young players for heart problems on Saturday at the Ryman Premier club's Longmead Stadium.

While Steve McKimm and his Angels side are taking on Kingstonian at Kingsmeadow in the Ryman League's top flight, the Kent club's officials and volunteers will be helping to screen young players for the club's 'Football Fightback' campaign, launched in 2015 following the death of Angels trialist Junior Dyan who was taken ill during a pre-season friendly game at Whyteleafe.

More than £30,000 has been raised for the initiative by fans and other supporters and after the weekend's event kicks off at 10am, the supporter-owned club's proud officials say more than 900 young people between the ages of 14 and 30 will have been screened for life-threatening problems since they teamed up with charity CRY, Cardiac Risk in the Young.

As well as the club's own players and members of their families who qualify, players from the West Kent Sunday League, Tonbridge & District Football League and Tonbridge Juniors FC have all been screened to help eradicate death through undetected cardiac issues.

The late Junior Dian

The late Junior Dian

Defender Dian, 23, collapsed on the pitch while playing for Angels against Whyteleafe 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 around the dangers of sudden cardiac arrests in football was 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.

Only around 1 in 10 people normally survive a witnessed, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK and the FA teamed up with the British Heart Foundation a year later to launch a £1.2m Defibrillator Fund to subsidise the costs of life-saving treatment at more than 900 Non-League clubs playing at Steps 1-6. Instead of paying around £1000 for a defibrillator, the initiative saw clubs pay just over £300, knocking two thirds off the cost.

For more information on CRY and the charity's work promoting the prevention of sudden cardiac deaths among the young through awareness, screening and research together with the providing support for affected families, visit: http://www.c-r-y.org.uk.

To donate to the Football Fightback campaign visit: http://www.justgiving.com/footballfightback.

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