THE family of GAA player Kevin King who died during a match has said the loss has taught the whole community about the fragility of life.
Kevin – affectionately known as ‘Kingsy; who played for St Mary’s GAC, Slaughtmanus, collapsed earlier this month at an indoor pitch at Campsie in Derry while playing in goal.
He suffered from a rare heart condition and had collapsed before on his 22nd birthday in May.
His family spoke to the BBC about the loss of their “gentleman”.
“To look at him you’d think he was totally healthy,” Kevin’s brother Martin said.
“He took great pride in looking after himself – but the one muscle he couldn’t control let him down that night.”
A preliminary investigation has shown Mr King had a rare heart condition called myocardial fibrosis.
He was due to have an MRI scan the week after his death and had spent several weeks in hospital following his first collapse.
Martin King said his brother had struggled with “stress and frustration” as a result of not being able to keep playing sport.
But the family agreed that in the weeks leading up to his death he had had a more positive attitude.
“That night he came in from work and was lying stretched out on the sofa,” said John King, Kevin’s father.
“He had his gear on and was ready to go. I said don’t be doing anything too stressful now, you’ve got your appointment on Wednesday.
“He told me he was only going to play in nets.
“Before he went out the door he said ‘I’ll see you later da’ but I never did see him later. The next time I saw him he was dead, he was gone.”
Later that evening Mr King got a phone call to say his son had collapsed again.
He rushed to the sports hall, where his wife was being led out of the room.
“I knelt down beside him but I had to keep letting him go because they were shocking him,” he said.
“Everyone did everything they could to keep him – but I knew from the moment I saw him he was gone.”
Mr King said he wanted his son to be remembered as a “gentleman and terrific sportsperson”.
His mother Margaret King said they were “so grateful” that he was their son.
“Kevin was so content in his life – he was always kind and thoughtful, always thinking of me even though we had our ups and downs.”
The family have since set up a fund in Kevin’s memory for the British Heart Foundation.Tags: