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A TALENTED young GAA player has become the latest victim of suspected Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) following his death over the weekend.
Adrian Harkin (26), who played football and hurling with Kilkenny’s James Stephens GAA Club, died of a suspected heart attack on Saturday.He had trained with his teammates on Friday evening.
A local source indicated that Mr Harkin stayed at a friend’s house on Friday night and was found dead the following morning.
The young man, whose family own Syd Harkins pub in the city, had also played for the renowned St Kieran’s College as a youth. 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.
James Stephens GAA club offered its condolences to Mr Harkin’s family last night. It described him as a talented footballer and hurler who played at all levels in both sports.
Mr Harkin was a centre-half forward on the James Stephens team which won the county minor hurling championship in 2003 and was a member of the senior football team that won the county title in 2008.
“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,” the statement said.
It is understood that 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 and by his siblings Maurice, who is based in Canada, David and Catherine.
His funeral Mass will take place tomorrow at 11am in St Mary’s Cathedral, Co Kilkenny.
Mr Harkin is the latest in a string of sportsmen who are suspected to have died from the condition. Last month alone two talented GAA players died in cases of SADS.
Ciaran Carr (20), from Clondalkin, Dublin, died suddenly as he was training with Round Towers GAA club. He was participating in an indoor circuit training session when he suddenly collapsed.
Mr Carr, a sports management student at Inchicore College, was talented at both hurling and football.
In January Jason Morley (37), a talented footballer from Co Mayo, was found dead at his home.
Mr Morley, a brother of former Mayo footballer Tony Morley, distinguished himself with the Ballyhaunis GAA Club
In 2004, All-Ireland winning Tyrone footballer Cormac McAnallen died suddenly. An awareness campaign was launched shortly after.
The Gaelic Players’ Association started a drive to screen players for the condition.
The tests detect cardiac arrhythmias and structural defects of the heart, symptoms which are closely linked with the syndrome.
It is believed that SADS is responsible for about two deaths a week in Ireland.
– Mark Hilliard and Luke Byrne
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