A 14-year-old kickboxer died after collapsing Sunday while competing for a national title in Leeds, England, the BBC reports.
The exact cause of Scott Marsden’s death remains unknown, however, it is believed to be connected to a serious injury he suffered late in the bout at Leeds Martial Arts College.
“The referee stepped in to protect Scott as soon as he could, which meant Scott did not hit the canvas and was laid down and straight into recovery position,” Marsden’s kickboxing club, Marsden’s All Styles Kickboxing run by his father and uncle, wrote in a statement on Facebook on Sunday when Marsden was “stable, but not out of the woods” in the hospital.
The club later canceled training and classes indefinitely as Marsden was pronounced dead.
World Kickboxing and Karate Association England President Jon Green agreed the referee, as well as the event’s promoters and the ringside medical staff, did everything they could to “keep Scott with us.”
Green placed blame on England national health-care system, which he insinuated did not respond to emergency calls quickly enough.
“Our sport is a contact sport but every precaution is in place to have protection and to be able respond to keep our fighters safe,” he wrote on Facebook. “Unfortunately there were complications where additional emergency response was needed to which NHS emergency response requests failed in a way that cannot be comprehended.
“There are many questions to be answered [and] I owe it [to] Scott and Marsden family that they get answers to why our 999 service has let them down.”
The local ambulance service responded to the charge, noting the call about Marsden’s emergency came in at 10:30 p.m. local time and that the medical team had arrived 21 minutes later.
“All of our staff worked tirelessly to provide the patient with the best possible care and transport him to hospital for further treatment,” Yorkshire Ambulance Service said in a statement (via the Guardian).
Meanwhile, a family friend launched a crowdfunding campaign to help support the Marsden family.
“Our lovely Scotty, who suffered an injury on Saturday [March 11] whilst doing the thing he loved, kickboxing, sadly never recovered,” Charlotte Rowlett wrote on JustGiving.com.
“Everything Scotty did, he did with passion and a confidence that was a pleasure to behold,” Rowlett continued. “[H]e was the most wonderful, talented boy and the loss of him will leave a hole in so many people’s lives.”
Marsden was one of the best young kickboxers in England, having won gold in 2015 in the 50-kilogram event at the WKA finals in Spain.
Rowlett said she had previously helped raise money to send Marsden to that event.
“So thought it fitting I do it for him again now,” she added, “even though it’s breaking my heart.”