Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Heart defect blamed for death of GAA youngster

A Gaelic-mad youngster, who died after collapsing on a football pitch, suffered from a heart defect similar to that which killed his GAA hero Cormac McAnallen, it emerged today.

Patrick Breen, from Dregish in Tyrone, died from a disease of the heart muscle which has caused sudden death in other young athletes known as hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy.

A post-mortem was carried out on the 10-year-old at the Royal Victoria Hospital yesterday morning.

"The preliminary cause of death is hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy," a statement issued from the Coroner's Service said.

The family of the football fanatic, who collapsed while taking part in an under-12s Gaelic football training session on Tuesday, was today preparing for his funeral which is due to take place tomorrow at 11am at St Patrick's Church, Drumquin.

The youngster's body was released to his devastated family yesterday and the father of Tyrone star Cormac McAnallen, Brendan, was among hundreds of mourners who visited their Dernalear Road home.

Cormac, Tyrone captain and All-Ireland medal winner, died suddenly at his home in 2004 from an undetected heart defect.

After his tragic death, the footballer's family set up The Cormac Trust in a bid to combat sudden cardiac death by distributing potentially life-saving defibrillators to GAA clubs throughout Ulster.

Although one was available to a doctor who treated young Patrick after his collapse, his life could not be saved.

Patrick was known for his great love of Gaelic football and dreamed of one day playing for his county.

Mr McAnallen yesterday renewed calls for all young people involved in sports to be screened for potentially deadly heart defects.

"If they are taking part in sport, they should be first of all screened to see if they are fit for it," he said.

"This screening has to be taken more seriously."

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