Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020

Football coach, 24, died from blood clot after playing video games in lockdown

A healthy football coach, 24, has died from deep vein thrombosis after spending most of lockdown playing video games and not going outside.

Louis O’Neill was furloughed from his job at Centre Parcs within a week of lockdown and sought comfort in gaming with friends online. His dad Stanley Greening, 56, said he tried to encourage his son to occasionally leave the house but as the pandemic went on he became upset and asked to be left alone.

He then started to feel unwell at the end of May, with doctors on 111 first thinking he had food poisoning. But he later complained of a pain in his leg, and died on June 3 before paramedics could arrive.

Mr Greening is now warning other families about the dangers of being inactive during lockdown, stating that if he can prevent just ‘one loss’ in his son’s name, ‘than that’s one bright light that will shine on Louis’.

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Writing on Facebook, he said: ‘On 3rd June something so awful happened, the worst imaginable thing to happen to such a young man and the worst imaginable thing to happen to a parent. My son, my dear Louis, has gone.

‘Not from the evil virus, but because of it. His young life, barely begun still trying to find his feet, just torn away. The devastation .. after seeing my dear boy go like that I am in a living hell.

‘This damn lockdown. After being furloughed he took to his gaming world to escape. Caught up in a virtual world he became less active, so easily done. Hours fly by when absorbed by the screen. I have done it countless times myself.

‘But no-one I mean no, ever in a million years would have predicted a blood clot. And just like that, it ripped my son away and I died inside along with him. 24 years old. Who is warning youngsters? Who is warning anyone of any age? No one. So I am. My son will live on, I shall continue to spread this warning in his name.’

Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot in the vein, usually in the leg, which can be caused by long periods of inactivity, such as being confined to bed or travelling long distances. Symptoms include cramping pain in one leg, swollen veins that are sore to touch and feeling breathless.

Mr Greening, from Harlington, Bedfordshire, said the ‘terrible thing’ about Louis’ death was that it could have been prevented ‘had he or we known such risks’.

He continued: ‘Like many I associate it with older people and something we are warned about on planes. As more and more of us are working from home it is likely you are not getting out of your chair as much as you needs. Stand up, walk around and please warn your kids.’

Mr Greening told how ‘hours would go by’ as Louis played online with friends, and sometimes he would get up in the morning and realise he had been on the computer ‘all night’, the MailOnline reported.

He said: ‘He was sitting there all day. He put on a little bit of weight on. I was encouraging him to come out with his little sister. He would say yes. He came out a couple of times to the shops, but it sort of fizzled out and he got a bit down.

‘I couldn’t make a 24 year old go out. I was nagging him and he was getting upset with me. He was saying leave me alone.’

Two weeks before his death, Louis told his dad he wasn’t feeling well before he then passed out in bed. The family rang 111 and were told it could be food poisoning, but his condition worsened and he later began complaining about a pain in his leg.

Louis’ mum then found him bent over at the top of the stairs on June 3 and an ambulance was sent for him after they called 111 again. He died before the paramedics arrived.

Speaking to BBC Three Counties Radio, Mr Greening said: ‘This was so preventable. That’s what hurt. These are hidden victims during the lockdown.’

The family are now raising money for Youth Sports Trust in memory of Louis. Donations can be made here.

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