Posted by: Bescot Banter


On this day, August 20th in 2007, Walsall Centre of Excellence member Anton Reid tragically passed away, aged just 16.
On this day, August 20th in 2007, Walsall Centre of Excellence member Anton Reid tragically passed away, aged just 16.

Anton joined Walsall aged just 13, and by age 16 was seen as a major prospect amongst The Saddlers coaching staff. Playing as a central defender Anton had put in many fantastic performances for the clubs Centre of Excellence, enough to earn him an apprenticeship.

As part of his apprenticeship, Anton had undergone a full medical, including several cardiovascular tests. However, just six weeks later, whilst training with his teammates at Aston University, Anton blocked a shot with his chest, ran back to his position on the edge of the 18-yard box and collapsed, suffering, what was later discovered to be a heart attack due to an undiagnosed heart defect, known as idiopathic left ventricular hypertrophy.

In the years since his death, Anton’s mother, Sonia Bailey, has set up The Anton Reid Foundation, and hosts events to raise funds for CRY – Cardiac Risk in the Young, a charity aiming to raise the awareness of Sudden Death Syndrome and other heart defects in the young. Sonia is also campaigning for all football clubs to increase heart screenings and install defibrillators in their stadiums and training facilities.

Since the tragedy, Walsall Football Club now ensures they have a defibrillator, entonox and oxygen at every training session, along with new robust emergency procedures. Although positive strides have been taken, Sonia Bailey, The Anton Reid FoundationCRY and similar charities continue to strive for further improvements in screening and detection, with the hope of preventing a similar tragedy in the future.
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