SPORTS Minister Tracey Crouch came to Tonbridge Angels’ Longmead stadium for the 1,000th heart screening to be held by the club.
Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) set up the Football Fightback scheme with the club in 2015 after former Angels player Junior Dian collapsed on the pitch and died during a pre-season friendly at Whyteleafe FC aged 24. His heart stopped while he was playing due to undetected cardiac problems.
Seven years before, Angels’ Under-18 player Jack Maddams, 17, died in his sleep because of an undetected heart condition.
Ms Crouch pledged in Parliament that she would look into compulsory screening for athletes after Mr Dian died.
On Saturday the MP for Chatham & Aylesford said: “Before I made that pledge nothing was happening, now something is happening.
“More sports are getting involved in screening their young,” she added.
“But we would like more to happen. Screening has to be done by the sports themselves.”
Roger Maddams, father of Jack, admitted that progress had been ‘slow’.
He added: “We would like to get to a situation as in Italy where anyone playing an organised sport over the age of 14 has to be screened.”
The club and the community have raise more than £35,000 over the last two and a half years to allow young people to have the screenings, which cost £35 and take 15 minutes.
According to CRY, 12 people under the age of 35 die from an undiagnosed cardiac condition every week in the UK.
Tonbridge & Malling MP Tom Tugendhat also attended the event along with members of Tonbridge Lions, who donated £1,000 towards the fund last month.
‘We would like a situation as in Italy where anyone playing an organised sport over the age of 14 has to be screened’