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Tragic teenage Old Halesonians rugby player died of mysterious condition
8:00am Wednesday 8th August 2012 in News
A TEENAGE Old Halesonians rugby player who died whilst playing for his school was the victim of a mysterious heart condition.
The inquest into the death of Luke Chapman, aged 15, concluded the Haybridge High School pupil's death was caused by a cardiac arrest related to Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.
Birmingham and Solihull deputy coroner Sarah Ormond-Walshe said the tragic syndrome is a condition which mostly affects young men and she would be writing to the Department of Health to highlight the issue.
Expert witness, Dr Mary Sheppard, told the hearing around 800 people aged under 35 die every year from various forms of sudden adult arrhythmia.
Luke's father, Matthew Chapman, aged 47, said: "A lot of die young from this - 800, that's nearly a whole school. The government needs to take action."
There are no UK-wide checks for the condition, but Dr Sheppard said a national screening programme in Italy has reduced deaths by 40 per cent.
According the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), sudden adult arrhythmia's can sometimes not be explained by post mortem examination and their cause is recorded as unascertainable.
The inquest heard Luke, from Meadowcroft, was playing in a match against Baxter College, Kidderminster, on March 20 when he collapsed and lay motionless on the ground.
The coroner said it seemed he had gone straight into cardiac arrest, resuscitation attempts began immediately and continued as he was flown by air ambulance to Birmingham Children's Hospital.
Doctors continued with "aggressive" resuscitation and carried out a CT but despite doing everything possible in a bid to save his life, the popular youngster was declared dead at around 6pm.
The coroner also noted although Luke, who played for Old Halesonians Rugby Club, was on the rugby pitch he was not taking an active part in the game at the time of his collapse.
Miss Ormond-Walshe added Luke had no significant medical history and a spinal injury he suffered in 2008 had played no part in the circumstances of his death.
She recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.