Tonbridge Angels: Junior Dian dies after collapsing during game

Junior Dian
Junior Dian was on trial at Ryman Premier League side Tonbridge Angels when he collapsed

A player has died after collapsing during a non-league pre-season game.

Junior Dian was on trial at Ryman Premier League side Tonbridge Angels when he collapsed in the second half of a game at Whyteleafe on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old died in hospital in the early hours of Wednesday.

"This is devastating news and our only crumb of comfort is that Junior lost his life doing something he obviously enjoyed so much," said Tonbridge chairman Steve Churcher.

The Football Association on Twitter
"Our thoughts are with the family of Junior Dian who has passed away after collapsing during a game."

"All our thoughts and sympathies are with his family," added Churcher in a statement on Tonbridge's website.external-link

Dian was attended to by physios from both teams and paramedics, but passed away at St George's Hospital in Tooting. The match was abandoned following the incident.

Tonbridge Angels play in the Ryman Premier League, the seventh tier of English football, while Whyteleafe play a division lower.

The club have announced that they are offering counselling to all those affected.

"The ball was played across field and Junior just fell backwards and hit the ground," manager Steve McKimm told BBC Radio Kent.

"Our physio knew something was wrong and was on the pitch immediately. He and the Whyteleafe physio were working on him immediately.

"It's something that has knocked me sideways all day. It's a really frightening aspect that seems to be happening in modern-day sport.

"We will go ahead with the Gillingham game on Saturday. It will be a remembrance day for Junior. There is going to be an area where flowers can be laid as a tribute and there is going to be a minute's applause. We will try to remember him that way."