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Parents Pay Moving Tribute To 'Lovely' Son Who Died After Collapsing Suddenly On Rugby Pitch

Parents pay moving tribute to 'lovely' son who died after collapsing suddenly on rugby pitch

Dan was killed on the pitch by an undiagnosed heart condition

The parents have paid tribute to their "lovely" son who died suddenly after collapsing on a rugby pitch in the middle of a match.

It was later revealed that the former Hull City player died from an undiagnosed heart condition which neither he nor his parents knew about.

Dan Wilkinson, who grew up in Hedon, was part of the Tigers' youth set-up until spring 2011, when he was released.

Seemingly healthy, the central defender had been playing for non-league side Shaw Lane AFC near Halifax, when he suffered what was initially thought to have been a heart attack.

Dan was treated on the pitch by physiotherapists and paramedics before being taken to hospital, where he died, reports the Hull Daily Mail.

Tests revealed he had arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) - a condition that may be present in one in every 1,000 to 5,000 young adults.

Giving their first interview since the tragedy last September, his parents Barry and Gill Wilkinson, who were at home on the night of the tragedy, relived the pain of the past year.

Mr Wilkinson, 62, a retired accountant, said: "We can't believe this has happened to someone so young, so full of life."

Having been part of a Tigers' youth team that won the Youth Alliance North East Conference in 2009-10, Dan signed a pro deal with the club when he was 18.

"He had a thorough medical in Leeds," said Mrs Wilkinson. "Nothing showed up."

Dan was "devastated" when he was released by the club he had followed since he was boy, say his parents.

However, he recovered from the disappointment and juggled semi-professional football with studying for a degree and then, later, a full-time job at a Sheffield accountants.

"Dan was a real joker," said Mr Wilkinson. "I used to say to him, playfully, 'Will you ever grow up?' The cruel irony is that he never got to grow up. Twenty-four was as far as Dan got.”

Mrs Wilkinson, 55, a legal assistant at Hessle engineering company Fenner, where her husband also worked, said: "There was never any malice in Dan. He was very principled.

"He really was such a good son and just a lovely person."

Former Hull City star Bryan Hughes, who managed Dan during a brief spell with Scarborough Athletic, was among those queuing to pay tribute.

Speaking at the time, he said: "It is devastating news. I knew Dan when he was a young lad coming through at Hull City. He was a very fit lad and looked after himself."

The Tigers' then-boss, Mike Phelan, described Dan's death as "heart-wrenching", adding: "It's young, far too young."

Story Credit: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/parents-pay-moving-tribute-lovely-11175229