Baggies players touched by Reid tragedy
DARREN Fletcher and his Albion team mates have left the grieving family of a young Baggies fan “overwhelmed” by their salute to the 21-year-old.
The skipper organised a dressing room whip-round to fund the purchase of a defibrillator in the hope of raising awareness of the plight of Miles Reid – and many more like him – who lose their lives to sudden cardiac arrest.
Miles was due to attend Albion’s Hawthorns clash against Chelsea last season when, on the eve of the game, he suffered a heart attack while training with his twin brother Dane for Solihull Js Sunday League side.
The tragedy hit his family hard and after contacting the Club, plans were made for Albion to pay their own tribute to Miles in a manner which would endure beyond the immediate tragedy of his passing.
Martin Swain, Director of Communications, explained: “We came up with the idea of buying a defibrillator and to use the tribute as an opportunity to raise awareness about this problem.
“I mentioned it to Darren a couple of days after the Chelsea game and straightaway he said: ‘We’ll buy it.’ That is typical of him and of the players and when I spoke to Miles’s family, they were touched by the gesture.”
A defibrillator delivers a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the heart and its importance cannot be over-estimated.
Dr Mark Gillett, the Club’s Performance Director, said: “Early access to CPR and defibrillation are the key elements to a successful outcome after a cardiac arrest on the pitch.”
And this week, the plans came to fruition when mum Angela, Dane, sister Carly and Miles’ girlfriend Mollie came to the training ground to formally receive the defibrillator from Darren and Head Coach Tony Pulis. The ‘defib’ will actually be housed with Miles’s club and Solihull Js trio Matthew Long, Jamie Howell and Andrew Farkas were also on hand to witness the moment.
The presentation was given local and national coverage to achieve the desired effect with Darren saying: "This hit home as it happened to Miles who was a West Brom fan who was out there playing football.
"You don't expect anything like that to happen and we felt a small thing for us would go a long way for the family and for Miles' memory.
"The whole point of this is to raise awareness. It's important to have a defibrillator at all games and training sessions."
On behalf of the family Angela said: "This means so much to the family.
"It's quite overwhelming and we were so touched by the fact the club wanted to do something in Miles' memory.
"The fact this could happen to a young, healthy person is unbelievable and we hope we can raise awareness for other people to get tested.
"You just don't know when this could happen."
The family have set up a foundation in Miles' memory on the Cardiac Risk in the Young's website.
The most recent available statistics sudden arrhythmic death syndrome claimed the lives of 165 people in the 10-39 age range between July 2008 and January 2013. Other USA-based research suggests that two capacity attendances of different people at Old Trafford would see one likely to die from SCD.