Standing ovation for heart campaigner

By David Watters

Metropolitan Police FC

Former Metropolitan Police striker Tobi Alabi who was forced to retire earlier this season after collapsing on the pitch with a heart condition was at Millwall on Saturday helping to promote medical screening to save the lives of more young people.

The 20-year-old was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – the same condition that almost claimed Fabrice Muamba’s life when he collapsed playing for Bolton at Tottenham in March 2012 – after a similar incident during the Ryman Premier Met’s 7-1 won over Molesey during a friendly in October.

Since recovering, the former Millwall Academy star, pictured, has been working with the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) to help raise awareness if the condition and save more lives through wider testing.

Alabi was given a standing ovation at The New Den before Millwall’s 1-0 win over Ipswich Town after being introduced to fans alongside the brother and father of Millwall fan Adam Pearmine whose life was cut short by the heart condition in 2010.

His family have been fundraising since the tragedy and like CRY, have the backing of the Championship club who announced that as a result of their efforts eighty young people would undergo screening before an upcoming home game with Reading.

Alabi, who later posted a video of the event online, said: “Millwall wanted to help myself and the CRY foundation raise some extra awareness so I want to thank the club for promoting what we are doing and giving their full support to it. I’d also like to thank everybody else for their support for the campaign. You’re already helping to push it to where it needs to go. Let’s change the game.”

Alabi’s former teammates and officials at Imber Court are delighted with his efforts and a spokesman said: “Tobi had to retire from the game he loves at the age of 20 and is now working to highlight the condition. All at Met Police FC wish Tobi well in his efforts to help save lives and support this campaign to save lives.”

To view Saturday’s event at The New Den visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6qIZ9Yhs3A

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