This young boxer’s efforts could help save lives in his Sheffield gym

A tragic young boxer’s death in Sheffield spurred another boxing youngster in to action, to help try and prevent further tragedies.

Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 12:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 12:19 pm
Members of Wicker Camp look on as the defibrillator is presented to Declan Atkinson by Alistair Simpson

Although a defibrillator is  unlikely to have been able to help in the case of 14-year old Scott Marsden, who died during a martial arts competition, when his heart’s rhythm was disrupted due to a blow in the chest area, in most other cases the machine does give a higher chance of survival.

After seeing a report on the inquest of Scott, in the Star, Declan Atkinson decided the gym he attends should have a defibrillator on site and became determined to see one installed.

Declan Atkinson

As a member of the Wicker Camp, a Thai boxing club in Sheffield, for five years, he approached owners Mick Mullaney and Trix March to seek agreement for his scheme, then set it in motion.

The 12-year old who attends Notre Dame School in Sheffield, undertook a six kilometre run, along with others from Wicker Camp.

With a set target of over £1,100 with which to buy the defibrillator and have it installed at the gym, Declan posted his efforts on to social media in a bid to gain support for his fundraising.

He appealed to people by saying; “I feel it is essential that we have this piece of equipment in our gym….. Wicker Camp never gives in.”

Presentation of the defibrillator

When his story was seen by a former member of the gym, Alistair Simpson, who now lives on the Isle of Skye, and is greatly involved with the charity ‘lucky2bhere’, the former Sheffielder went one further with his donation….

Through ‘lucky2bhere’  Mr Simpson donated a defibrillator to the gym, and came down to present it, while the proceeds from the sponsored run organised by Declan, amounting to £565.65, went in turn to the charity.

Declan’s mother, Diane Atkinson, 41, said: “I’m really proud of Declan and what he’s done.

“To achieve something like this at his age is fantastic. It is typical of him as he's caring by nature.

“But it all came about really after we were reading the report about Scott from the Coroner’s court. It really made an impact.

“Alistair does still go to the gym occasionally if he is visiting the area, but it’s great that he and the charity he is involved with helped out as they did.”

The condition Scott suffered , commotio cordis, is the second most common cause of cardio arrest among athletes. 

Often, use of a defibrillator will give the victim a higher chance of survival.

The equipment works by stopping fibrillation – the condition where the heart starts to beat erratically, usually during cardiac arrest.

It does this by generating a powerful electrical current , about 300 joules of electrical energy, which is passed through the heart, resetting the beat to normal.

If the heart has stopped, a defibrillator will do little to restart it so other techniques such as CPR are applied.