A father whose son died following a cardiac arrest wants a law to put defibrillators in all schools.
In a moving letter, Mark King tells Prime Minister Boris Johnson : “Christian Eriksen was lucky, my son was not.”
The Danish footballer, 29, was saved by medics using one of the devices when he collapsed during a Euros game.
The lifesaving kit was not available when Mark’s son Oliver, aged 12, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest during a school swimming race.
This week the Mirror has called for legislation to ensure defibrillators are legally required at key locations, including schools, sports grounds and public buildings.
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Mark, who has campaigned tirelessly for the devices to become “as common as fire extinguishers”, warned that “many more” young people will lose their lives unnecessarily without access to the kit.
He said: “The world was shocked by the distressing scenes of Christian Eriksen collapsing on the pitch during the Denmark vs Finland match on Saturday.
“Fortunately, the swift action of his team-mates, world-class medical staff and, critically, the availability of a defibrillator saved his life. Eriksen was lucky. My son was not.”
Oliver died of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome on March 2, 2011, following the incident at King David High School in Liverpool.
Mark said: “My son excelled in school and was phenomenal at sports. This hidden heart condition took him from us. SADS kills 12 young people a week and yet, astonishingly, defibrillators are not mandatory in all schools.”
Following Oliver’s death, his family has campaigned to raise awareness of SADS as well as lobbying government.
The Oliver King Foundation has raised funds to place more than 5,500 defibrillators in schools and elsewhere, and trained more than 100,000 people in CPR and the use of defibrillators – saving 56 lives so far.
The letter to Mr Johnson continued: “The Department for Education only recommends all schools have access to defibrillators.
“This does not go far enough and Christian Eriksen’s case serves as a reminder of how important the availability of life-saving defibrillators are.
“Young people will continue to be at risk until you legislate to make defibrillators a mandatory part of school life. Without your intervention, many more young people face unnecessary death.”
Former Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba, who survived a cardiac arrest on the pitch in 2012, also backed our calls for defibrillator legislation.