Muamba collapse shows heart screening need, Cardiac Risk in the Young says

Anne Thomas' son Gareth died unexpectedly five years ago

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The collapse of footballer Fabrice Muamba has highlighted the need to screen young people against sudden cardiac death, says a charity.

Cardiac Risk in the Young (Cry) says 12 young people in the UK die of undiagnosed heart defects every week.

People whose loved ones died due to an undiagnosed heart condition met Assembly Members on Wednesday.

Daniel Mason, whose brother Dean died in 2010, said: "It was very similar to what happened to my brother."

Bolton midfielder Muamba, 23, collapsed on the pitch at Tottenham's White Hart Lane during an FA Cup quarter-final in March.

He was "in effect dead" for 78 minutes after suffering a cardiac arrest and was later diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) and spent weeks at the London Chest Hospital. He is continuing to recuperate at home.

The publicity around his collapse - and the death on Monday of Norwegian world swimming champion Alexander Dale Oen - has reminded the public of the risks facing young people whose heart condition remains undiagnosed, said Cry founder and chief executive Alison Cox.

Fabrice Muamba Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch during an FA Cup match in March

She said: "Due to recent events, sudden cardiac death has been dominating the health and sports pages of the national press.

"However, we need to keep up the pressure and to engage support from as many MPs and Assembly Members as possible, to ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent other families from experiencing similar tragedies."

Bereaved families from across Wales attended an event at the Welsh assembly to raise awareness of sudden cardiac death in the young.

Among those attending was Mr Mason, whose brother Dean died in June two years ago when he was 26.

Cycle ride

Mr Mason, who is now 26 himself, said his brother died moments after waving off him and their father on a cycle ride during a family holiday at an activities resort.

The holiday group included the two brothers and their partners, their parents and the older Mr Dean's two children.

Daniel Mason (left) at his brother Dean's wedding in May 2008 Dean Mason (right) saw his brother Daniel off on a bike ride and died moments later while on holiday

Mr Mason said: "It was just one of those things. There was no warning. He was perfectly healthy as far as we thought.

"He was there one minute and gone the next. My mum was closest to the scene and she saw him fall.

"It was just outside the chalet. As we were leaving, he walked outside with his youngest daughter and waved us off. After we disappeared around the corner, he fell.

"When I got back, there was an ambulance there.

"It was just a case of trying to understand not what happened but why it can happen to an apparently healthy person."

Mr Mason said tests were still not able to identify a definitive cause of his brother's death.

He said: "He was no elite athlete but he was a perfectly healthy individual."

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