The inquest into the death of 15-year-old cyclocross star Charlie Craig has heard that he died after suffering a heart attack in his sleep at his home in Hayfield, Derbyshire.
South Manchester Coroner’s Court was told by pathologist Dr Sami Titi that Craig had suffered a heart attack prior to his death on January 20 2017.
Professor Sanjay Sharma, a cardiologist for the English Institute of Sport, said that he believed the heart had been damaged by heart attacks over a prolonged period due to ‘high surges of adrenaline’ which had left scarring, and ultimately to cause it to stop beating.
Professor Sharma said that sudden cardiac events cause the death of less than 600 people aged under 35 each year. He said that there was no evidence that Craig’s heart condition was congenital.
“The findings of a full-blown heart attack in a 15-year-old or previous smaller heart attacks is really very unusual, particularly when the arteries themselves look normal,” said Professor Sharma.
The court heard that Craig had gone to bed after a day at school without any visible symptoms the night before he died, and was discovered by his mother, Sarah, the following morning.
Charlie Craig’s father, Nick – a former British cyclocross and mountain bike national champion – said that he had not been concerned that Charlie was over-training.
“For youngsters the hardest discipline to get is not to train. That’s the smart bit, knowing when you have to rest,” he said.
“I never had any concerns that Charlie was overdoing it.”
The coroner was told that Charlie and brother Tom had been referred to Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport in February 2015 for heart checks after an abnormality was found with father Nick’s heart. However, Charlie had been deferred until he was older.
The inquest is scheduled to continue.
Charlie Craig won the under-16 2016 National Trophy cyclocross title and placed second in the British cyclocross national championships for his age group in January 2017.
The cycling community was deeply shocked by Charlie Craig’s death, with many paying tribute to the promising young rider. The #RideForCharlie foundation has been set up in his memory to support young off-road cyclists.