Olympic Gardens footballer dies suddenly
Coach of Olympic Gardens Michael Peart believes that Okeem Forth would have had a 'fighting chance' to remain alive if officials at last Friday night's Major League match had acted swiftly to assist the player.
Forth died at the Andrew's Memorial Hospital on Friday night after receiving an injury late in the Magnum-Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) quarter-final game against Molynes United.
He was substituted following the injury, but it took some time, according to his coach, for the player's complaint to be treated seriously.
"He got an elbow to the front of his neck and went down. He was substituted, but sat for a while off the field. He felt weak and asked for assistance and I sent two officials to assist him, then the ambulance team on hand made their way over and took him on a stretcher to the ambulance," Peart said.
"He would have had a fighting chance if things were done with more urgency," the long-serving Olympic Gardens coach said.
Peart described the 18 year-old Tivoli Gardens Manning Cup star as a versatile player.
"He was a very good player who could play in any position, including as a goalkeeper. I have coached him for six years and don't know of him having any medical condition," he added.
Forth gave his team the lead in the 67th minute, but Ramone Rose got an equaliser for Molynes United.
After 1-1 at the end of regular and extra time, Molynes advanced to the semi-final after winning 4-1 on penalty kicks.
KSAFA's general secretary Dwayne Dillon issued a release early yesterday.
"It is with deep regret that we advise of the sudden passing of Okeem Forth, who was a prominent member of the Olympic Gardens Football Club. Okeem played in the KSAFA-Magnum Major League quarter-finals versus Molynes United last Friday night until the 83rd minute when he was assisted off the field to receive medical attention.
"After initial assessments by the team, he was rushed to the Andrew's Memorial Hospital in the company of the medical doctor assigned to the game in an ambulance. Despite the valiant efforts by the medical team at the hospital, we were sadly informed of the untimely passing of this young, talented player.
"The council of KSAFA would like to extend its deepest sympathies to the family, friends and the Olympic Gardens Football Club family."