S’pore teen dies during Sunday football game

Melissa Aw

A game of friendly football came to a tragic end when Temasek Polytechnic student Muhammad Khairil Muhamad Nizam suddenly collapsed halfway through the match and died, reported The Straits Times (ST).

According to the newspaper, the teen -- who was to turn 20 next week -- was chasing the ball in the match between his team Marhaban Football Club and Nasir’s P Fotoball when without warning, he collapsed and appeared to suffer from a bout of fits.

Paramedics from the Singapore Civil Defence Force, who arrived within 15 minutes, then proceeded to render emergency medical treatment to the unconscious teen, said a spokesperson for the force to Yahoo! Singapore.
However, the teen remained unconscious all the way to Changi General Hospital. He was later diagnosed to have died of heart failure.

Friends and family members of Khairil told the paper that he was among the fittest players on the team and that he had started playing football since Secondary One.

His family members are now waiting for the results of the investigation to tell them what caused the teen’s heart to fail.

Khairil’s death comes less than two weeks after the passing of two other young teens who suddenly collapsed and died while playing sports.

On Feb 27, 10-year-old Rishon Ng from Si Ling Primary School collapsed while playing basketball during recess. He died less than two hours later.

A day later, 18-year-old Jonathan Teo from Anglo-Chinese Junior College collapsed and died after exercising in his condominium’s gym.

According to an independent survey conducted by National Heart Centre and Asiaone, about a fifth of Singaporeans do not seek help for chest pains despite knowing that the symptom is an early warning of a heart attack.

“Heart palpitations are a very frequent symptom in the general population and it may account for about 15 per cent of clinic consultations here at NHCS,” said Dr Ching Chi Keong, senior consultant at the Department of Cardiology and Director of Electrophysiology and Pacing at the National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS).

The article added that NHCS has been seeing more patients with heart palpitations since 2008.

Some symptoms of a heart attack to look out for are:

  • Chest discomfort/pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Back or jaw discomfort/pains
  • Nausea/vomiting

For more on the warning signs, read this article about Singaporeans suffering from heart palpitations.