Video: Poignant silence at football match after death of Sheffield player
Football fans are used to seeing courage and fortitude on the pitch.
But supporters in the humble surrounds of Shaw Lane AFC witnessed something they will never see the like of again this afternoon.
Five short days ago, their centre half, 24-year-old Daniel Wilkinson collapsed and died on the pitch in a Shaw Lane v Brighouse Town cup tie.
Daniel, who worked at an accountants in Broomhill, Sheffield, died from ‘Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy’ (AVRC), the same condition that caused footballer Fabrice Muamba to retire in 2012.
But before today’s 3pm kick off against Romulus at the Barnsley ground Daniel’s parents and girlfriend took part in a one-minute silence and wreath presentation in the centre circle.
It was a poignant moment which clearly affected many both on the pitch and the sidelines.
But, for once, football had found a common goal.
Brighouse, having postponed their own fixture today, had sent their squad and back room staff to Barnsley, and had been invited to walk out of the dressing rooms before kick off as a token of solidarity.
The South Yorkshire club has worked wonders in the days since the tragedy.
They unveiled a stand now named after the former Hull City player and produced T-shirts with Daniel’s name on for warm-up; all shirts bearing on the back the number five which he had made his own since joining in the close season.
The number five has been retired for the rest of the season.
But Shaw Lane had also started the ball rolling on something even more important than those gestures.
They have launched a campaign to raise £50,000 for ‘The Daniel Wilkinson Foundation.”
The AVR condition can be found in one in every 2,000-5,000 adults...if it is looked for.
It mainly affects young adults and has been the reason for some sudden unexplained deaths in young athletes.
The Foundation has been set up to raise funds that will save lives.
Cash raised - including all takings from today’s match - will go towards providing screenings for all footballers at grass roots levels and toby defibrillators and to provide training in CPR.
Karen Parton at the club said: “Having got the Foundation off the ground we will be working with the County FA to make sure people in the world of football contribute and are also protected by it in the future.”
“Dan’s mum is supporting us and has got involved and so has the mother of an 11 year old boy who ‘died’ twice on the pich but fortunately was brought round on each occasion.”
She said the Foundation would not be a ‘flash in the pan response’ to the tragedy but its campaigners were determined to make a real impact.
“Within a few hours £2,500 was pledged which is great” she said.
Sources at Shaw Lane say Daniel discovered recently that he had an irregular heart beat, but believe he was not told to stop playing.
One club helper said: “He was a lovely quiet boy, always very polite and was just starting out in a new life in Sheffield. It is a terrible tragedy.”