At least 12 young people die suddenly each week in the UK of previously undetected heart problems.
Tobi Alabi announces his decision to undertake a sponsored run.
The announcement comes just one week after 24 year old Junior Dian passed away while playing in a friendly game. Junior collapsed while playing the second half of a football match for Kent-based Tonbridge Angels at Whyteleafe FC in Surrey. Efforts were made to revive him by two physios who were at the scene, along with two paramedics who attended the ground.
Junior is now the 6th football player and the 8th sportsman to die in 2015, and this has proven to be the last straw for a frustrated Alabi. " I dont know how many deaths it will take before we put proper heart screening procedures in place to save the lives of young athletes. When something like this happens everyone says "We need to do something" and "This is so sad that young men are passing away" But we must collectively start applying pressure to the powers that be.", said Tobi Alabi.
Tobi, whose own football career ended at the age of 19 when he suffered a heart attack while playing in a friendly game for Metropolitan Police in 2013, is planning to run to raise funds to acquire screening equipment for the Heart4More Foundation. Sponsors will be asked to pledge funds on a £ per minute basis. Tobi's medical condition has limited his ability to participate in aerobic exercise but under medical supervision he is now permitted to undertake this challenge.
"I am a believer in the saying, 'Work Smart'. The individuals who have the power to make the change in football possible are too unmotivated to do so and thus we have to stop relying on a system that keeps letting us down and begin to work smart. We don't have all the answers on the causes or prevention of sudden cardiac death, but It is long past the time to stop talking and start acting. If the football establishment won't do the right thing, then we will.
"We can work smart and save lives by putting in place basic cardiac health awareness schemes (CPR Training, proper use of defibrillators, signs and symptoms, and preventative measures)"
Alabi went on to say that he hopes the right messages will be sent by the sponsored run. The run will be conducted in a controlled environment, with adequate medical equipment on standby as well as paramedics ready in the unlikely event of an emergency.
"The message is clear and simple, whenever any football player who hasn't had a heart screening steps out onto the pitch they take the same risk I did when I collapsed. Now, when underaking this run I understand the risks but I will have the proper medical support on site to react to an emergency. Every footballer deserves the same: proper assessment of the risks and medical support for emergencies.
I also call on the FA and the PFA to sponsor this run, as both organisations have a duty of care to their players and to the public. Football has a big influence on society, if people see the footballing world taking this issue seriously then the general public will follow."
Date: Friday 21st August
Venue: Crayford Weights and Fitness - Unit 3, Tower Park Road, Crayford, DA1 4LB
By funding this page you will enable us to purchase an ECG machine and in turn help us deploy our screening program on a much larger scale, reaching thousands of people. Above is a video from our first screening day at Arsenal FC.
How will screening help?
- Identify most cardiac abnormalities.
- Raise awareness of symptoms amongst coaches and physiotherapists.
- Raise awareness throughout sport of the risk of Sudden Death Syndrome / Sudden Cardiac Death and highlight the families that are most at risk – particularly those that have already had a young sudden cardiac death in the family and who might not be aware that other family members must be screened.
- An Electrocardiogram (ECG), which looks at the electrical conduction pathways around the heart.
- Small stickers known as electrodes are placed on the patient's chest and the wires connect to an ECG machine whilst you lie still.
- A printout of the heart’s electrical activity is obtained for evaluation by the cardiologist.
Please note Pledges will only be rewarded should we reach our target.