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Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) - A Charity organisation to prevent sudden cardiac death in the young

An interview with Dr Steven Cox, CRY Deputy Chief Executive by Erik Ekker Solberg, EACPR Sports Cardiology Section

The story of a young boy’s cardiac disease and the parental response initiated the charity organisation CRY, today a primary force regarding prevention of sudden cardiac death in the young.


CRY works with cardiologists, family doctors, families and the bereaved to promote cardiac health of young people. CRY’s screening programme gives the opportunity to identify any young person who may be at risk, regardless of sporting ability, level or sport participation at all.

The organisation offers support to all people affected by cardiac conditions that can cause young sudden cardiac death. CRY (a thought-provoking abbreviation) offers a unique bereavement support programme and supports expert fast-track pathology and fast-track cardiological referral after a young sudden death, when symptoms present or when a family member has been identified with an inherited cardiac condition.

A number of worldwide events that came together in the early 1990s led to the development of CRY.

Read this interview with Dr. Steven Cox, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Screening, CRY:

Steven’s story

"In 1990, aged 16, I relocated to the US to take up a University tennis scholarship. I attended the leading US junior college for tennis.

In 1992 I was required to have a full medical with a battery of different health checks (including an ECG) as part of the scholarship agreement. The ECG was identified as abnormal so I was referred for further tests. This was not taken seriously within the team as I was one of the fittest athletes and no one had heard of young sports people being affected by heart conditions.

At the meeting with the cardiologist he apologised for the inconvenience and said "this will just take a few minutes, the nurse who took your ECG put the leads on the wrong way round" - then, "Oh, she didn't put the leads on the wrong way round".

After many tests over the following month the cardiologist enthusiastically approached me in the lobby, asked a few seemingly meaningless questions and  then said "I've finally found out what is wrong, you have Arrythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC). " I smiled and said "great, so what does that mean?" to which he replied, "you’ll never be able to exercise again .…

Young Sudden Cardiac Death – the CRY experience

From our experience, 1 in every 300 of the young people that CRY tests will be identified with a potentially life-threatening condition. 1 in 100 will have a less serious condition that can be monitored and corrected through surgery if required. What the long term prognosis of each of these people would have been if not identified is an ongoing debate.

When CRY started, anecdotal evidence suggested there was at least 1 sudden death in the UK every week from an undiagnosed cardiac condition.

A few years later this escalated to 4 deaths a week, then to at least 8 deaths a week and now we know it is at least 12 deaths a week in the UK. CRY is contacted by at least 4 families every week where a child or partner under the age of 35 has just died due to a cardiac condition or the cause of death after expert pathology is still unascertained. …."

Read the full interview