England

Junior Dian death: Dame Kelly attends heart screening

Dame Kelly Holmes
Image caption Dame Kelly Holmes, who lives in Tonbridge, was at the ground to support the screening

Hundreds of footballers and their families are being screened for heart defects after the sudden death of a player who collapsed on the pitch.

Junior Dian, 24, died in hospital after his heart stopped while he was playing for Tonbridge Angels on 7 July.

Double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes was at the team's ground in Kent to support the screening programme.

"Some people have an underlying defect that they are are not aware of, and screening is very important," she said.

"You think you're young, you're healthy, you're fit - yet you're collapsing or dying of a heart problem."

About 200 people will be screened this weekend, with hundreds more expected to attend sessions in Gillingham and Sevenoaks in the coming months.

Image caption Junior Dian collapsed in the second half of the game against Whyteleafe FC

The Football Fightback screening campaign was spearheaded by Jim Maddams, whose 17-year-old son Jack, who also played for Tonbridge, died eight years ago.

"My son was young and in peak fitness but he went to bed one night and didn't wake up," he said.

"He had an electrical condition in his heart he didn't know about we and he passed away in his sleep.

"We don't want tragedies like this to happen to anyone else."

Image caption Junior Dian's friend James Folkes was among the footballers who was given a clean bill of health

One of the players screened and given a clean bill of health was James Folkes, who was playing in the game against Whyteleafe in Surrey when his friend Mr Dian collapsed in the non-league pre-season game.

"It was very frightening because before the game he said he felt good," he said.

"It was a big shock that something like that could happen."

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