Markyate squash player died of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome

PUBLISHED: 07:06 17 August 2013

Harry Faulkner

Harry Faulkner

Archant

THE father of a teen squash player who died of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome earlier this year has spoken of his passion to raise awareness of the condition.

Harry Faulkner, of London Road, Markyate, passed away on February 8 at the Nuffield Health and Fitness Centre in Highfield Park, St Albans, after feeling unwell during an evening league match.

At an inquest on Tuesday, West Herts Coroner Edward Thomas said the 18 year old’s opponent was reportedly waiting for him to serve when Harry confessed to feeling sick and then leant against the wall and collapsed.

Attempts to resuscitate the Berkhamsted Squash Club player at the sports centre and later at Watford General Hospital were unsuccessful.

A post-mortem examination revealed no obvious explanation for Harry’s death and the report from Dr Mary Sheppard, an expert cardiac pathologist, could not find any complications with his heart.

The coroner recorded a verdict of natural causes by Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) and said to the squash player’s parents: “These events are rare but they do happen and I can’t begin to understand how awful this must be for you.”

Harry’s family described him as a “well-liked and loved young man who always went about his life with diligence, passion and commitment”.

They added: “Harry was a wonderful son who never brought any trouble to our door, in fact he only ever brought joy and happiness.

“Harry is dearly missed by those that loved him. His story has touched many hearts and he will live on in the memories of us, his family, and also with his friends and those in the sporting world.”

Speaking after the inquest Harry’s father Stefan said: “Since Harry died we’ve been working with Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) and with England Squash just to raise awareness of the illness, certainly with young sports players.”

He added that over £30,000 has been raised in his son’s memory through friends and family.

The regional technology director claims there is a general failing in junior level sports in terms of screening and testing young people.

“Unless you get picked up by West Ham, Arsenal or Tottenham I don’t think kids are screened.”

Stefan added: “Harry had no illnesses, he was fighting fit. He hadn’t had any illnesses or a cold. There was no warning, no fainting or fits, and no heart palpitations.”

He said one possible cause of the 18-year-old’s death could have be an unusual disorder which can only be detected when someone is alive.

Had Harry been screened there is a chance this could have been detected, prompting his parents to focus much of the money raised in his memory towards funding early detection of heart problems in young sports players, and to help clubs buy defibrillators and other life saving equipment.

For more information on CRY and details on free heart screenings visit http://www.c-r-y.org.uk/


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