Belfast Telegraph

Tragic GAA player Kevin King's family team up with charity for first aid drive

By Donna Deeney

The family of a young Co Londonderry GAA player who died suddenly from a previously undetected heart problem have teamed up with a leading charity for a series of first aid training sessions in a bid to save lives.

Kevin King, who played for St Mary's GAC in Slaughtmanus near Eglinton, was just 22 when he collapsed during a game of indoor soccer 10 months ago.

Despite efforts to resuscitate him Kevin was later pronounced dead at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Last night his family were joined by friends and members of the local community to support the first in a series of training sessions led by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

The event was held at St Mary's - the club where Kevin (right) made his mark as a talented centre forward.

The family, who have raised an incredible £55,000 for the BHF, have also donated a defibrillator to the community, which has been placed in the grounds of St Mary's Church at Tamnaherin.

Speaking ahead of the event, Kevin's brother Martin, a doctor, said: "Kevin was totally dedicated to Slaughtmanus all his life, so it is only fitting that this priceless training should be rolled out here, and that this new defibrillator be fitted nearby. The chances of surviving a cardiac arrest outside of hospital can be as low as 10%, but this is increased with good, timely CPR.

"However, this can often be administered incorrectly or not at all, simply because people are too scared to do it or don't know how.

"Through this training, we hope to equip members of the club and the surrounding community with the confidence to administer CPR and use the defibrillator if needed - helping to prevent untimely deaths in the future. That Kevin should leave such an important legacy is both a comfort and a huge honour for us as his family. We were so proud of Kevin in life, and we are so proud of him now."

The King family donated the lifesaving machine and received a 'Call Push Rescue' training kit following their successful application for a BHF Nation of Lifesavers Community Package.

It contains a defibrillator and the equipment needed to learn CPR in half-an-hour.

Mr King's aunt Kathleen McShane said the family will gladly make the kit available to any community organisation interested in taking part in training.

"We are very keen that as many people as possible can avail of this lifesaving training so we will provide the kit and arrange for the British Heart Foundation members to visit any community group interested," she said.

"The more people who receive this lifesaving training the better and anyone interested in making use of the kit we have can contact us on 07756 815 451."

Karen McCammon, from BHF NI, added:"The lifesaving skills taught using the Call Push Rescue kit will be vital in giving people the confidence to step in and try to save a life when they see someone suffer a cardiac arrest."

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