GAA player dead from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome

Updated: March 6, 2012

Yet another GAA player has become the victim of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) over the weekend just gone.

Adrian Harkins, aged 26, a member of the famous James Stephens hurling and football club in Kilkenny died on Saturday of a suspected heart attack having trained with his team mates on Friday night.

His is believed to be the latest in a string of deaths of athletes from SADS, although a post-mortem has still to take place to confirm the exact cause.

“Adrian was a cheerful young man who was ready with a joke and who always left us with a smile. Adrian will be missed by all in the club,” – a statement from the James Stephens club read.

Mr Harkin had recently qualified as an auctioneer and had returned home from the US where he had been living. He is survived by his parents Syd and Mary; brothers Maurice and David and sister Catherine. His funeral Mass will take place at 11a.m. on Wednesday morning in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Co. Kilkenny.
The first known case of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome in Ireland is believed to have been that of 24 year-old Cormac McAnnallen who was discovered dead in his bed aged 24 back in 2004 with “excessive exercise” being cited as the likely cause of heart failure. The Gaelic Player’s Association has since started a drive to screen players for the condition. SADS is thought to kill two people per week in Ireland.

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