Fresh calls for defibrillators at sports clubs after player’s tragic death
There have been fresh calls for the Welsh Government to issue every sports club in Wales with a defibrillator following the death of a rugby player over the weekend.
Alex Evans, a 31-year-old flanker, was playing for Cwmllynfell RFC at Parc y Bryn in Neath Port Talbot when he suffered a cardiac arrest on Saturday afternoon.
Following an online appeal, almost £10,000 has already been raised in 24 hours for his family.
The Senedd’s Shadow Minister for Sport, Tom Giffard, said that his “tragic and untimely death” highlighted the urgent need for all sports clubs in Wales to have defibrillators.
“We have long called for these important life-saving pieces of equipment to be installed at sports clubs, and now is the time for the Welsh Labour Government to act,” the Conservative MS said.
“Defibrillators aren’t cheap, so Labour ministers needs to work with clubs and organisations across Wales and provide them with financial support.
“The Welsh Government needs to move fast because the quicker we get them put in place, the more lives we can save.”
Tributes were paid to Alex Evans after his death on Saturday, with club secretary Gareth Evans saying that he “always had a smile on his face”.
“He always had time for you and always had that smile on his face,” he told the BBC.
In a social media post, Cwmllynfell RFC said: “There are words and there are no words to describe today. We have lost a brother on the field and it is hurting so much.
“RIP Alex. The whole club and community are shocked and saddened. Fly high brother… fly high.”
The Welsh Rugby Union offered their “deepest condolences” to his family, friends and teammates. World Rugby also responded to pay tribute.
Club captain Chris Balfe described Evans as “one in a million”, writing on the club’s Facebook page: “We went out today as a team of mates and we came off the field losing a brother.
“We lost one of the boys who epitomised what Cwm was about. A fiercely loyal person who’d give it all on the field and in life. To me, Alex sums up what playing rugby is about a man who played for the badge and his mates week in week out.
“I know rugby is irrelevant in moments like this but I also know Jew loved his club and I want him and his family to know his club loved him.”
The Welsh Ambulance Service said they were called at 3pm to reports of a person needing urgent medical attention.
“We responded with one rapid response vehicle, two emergency ambulances and one vehicle from the emergency medical retrieval and transfer service,” they said.