A YOUNG sports star collapsed and died from a brain condition.
And as tributes poured in last night to talented teenager Huw Thatcher, his grieving family said: “It could have happened at any time”.
The parents of Huw, 15, are anxious to stress players involved in the soccer match in which Huw was playing had nothing to do with his tragic death.
The talented young football player died in hospital following a match in Brighouse at the weekend.
Sports-mad Holmfirth teenager Huw was playing for Hepworth United under 15s in a match against Brighouse Town Juniors when the tragedy unfolded.
The Holmfirth High School student collapsed after a tackle and was treated at the scene by a doctor.
He was rushed to hospital but died on Sunday night.
He is understood to have suffered a brain aneurysm which could have ruptured at any time.
His dad Nick Thatcher is the team manager and was watching the match.
Nigel Bowers, who shares the team manager role with Huw’s dad Nick, said: “Nick, his wife Jenny and Huw’s younger sister Carys are obviously devastated by what has happened.
“They are all, however, keen to point out that this could have happened at any time and they do not want to apportion blame to anyone from the opposing team, particularly the boy involved in the tackle before Huw collapsed.”
Around 200 friends and family members gathered at an impromptu meeting at the Sands recreation ground, Huddersfield Road, Holmfirth, where they laid floral tributes and football shirts as a memorial.
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They were laid alongside the all-weather courts where Huw loved to play football with his friends.
Hepworth United Junior Club chairman John Field said: “Huw has played at Hepworth since he was six years old and he was very, very popular and a friendly young man.
“He was a bit of a joker and a very talented footballer.
“He also played cricket for Upperthong Cricket Club and was a member of Thongsbridge Tennis Club.
“I don’t really think it has sunk in yet. The family are all in deep shock, as we all are.”
Eric Kershaw, secretary of the Huddersfield RCD junior football league said: “Everyone from the league sends their deepest sympathy to the family and the club.
“Apparently it was something unattached to the actual game.
“It was an aneurysm and it could have happened at any time. Nevertheless it is a great tragedy.”
A brain aneurysm, also called a cerebral or intracranial aneurysm, and is an abnormal bulging outward of one of the arteries in the brain.
It is estimated that up to one in 15 people will develop a brain aneurysm during their lifetime.
Brain aneurysms are often discovered when they rupture, causing bleeding into the brain or the space closely surrounding the brain.
The haemorrhage from a ruptured brain aneurysm can lead to a haemorrhage stroke, brain damage and, as in Huw’s case, death
The game between Hepworth and Brighouse Town Juniors at the Brighouse ground on St Giles Road, Hove Edge was called off after the tragedy.
A coroner’s investigation has been held and he has ruled that death was due to natural causes.
GAIL Howe, acting headteacher at Holmfirth High School where Huw was a year 10 pupil said: “Clearly, the whole school community is devastated at the news about Huw.
“ He was a Year 10 student who was intelligent, popular and respected by his peers. Huw was a polite, conscientious student with a great sense of humour and a cheeky smile. Academically, he had a bright future ahead of him. Sport was the love of his life; he was a gifted and talented sportsman who captained the school football team with pride and passion.
“Huw will be sorely missed both in and out of the classroom.
“Our thoughts are very much with Huw's parents and his sister at this time.
“Our priority is to do all we can to support the students, staff and the family over the next few days and weeks.”
HUW played cricket in the Holme Valley.
Robert Oakley, director of junior coaching at Upperthong Cricket Club, where Huw had played since year five at school said: “Huw was a lovely, lovely lad, with a fantastic natural talent for sport.
“He was a big, strong boisterous lad, good for team spirit.
“We have 120 juniors here now but he was one of the first and started when we had just a handful of players.
“It is devastating.”
TRAGIC teenager Huw Thatcher was an all-round sportsman.
In addition to soccer and cricket, he also enjoyed tennis.
A spokeswoman from Thongsbridge Tennis Club, in Miry Lane, said: “Huw was a loveable character who always had a smile for everyone.
“He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.”
POP star Laura Branigan was another victim of a brain aneurysm.
The US star, who enjoyed hits with the songs Gloria and Self Control in the early 1980s, died of a brain aneurysm in her sleep aged 47.
Branigan, also an actress, was nominated for four Grammy Awards and her Gloria single reached number two in the US chart in 1982.
She had complained of a headache for two weeks before she died but did not seek medical attention.
Another sufferer was rock star Neil Young, pictured, who was treated for a dangerous brain aneurysm.
He underwent neuroradiology" treatment in New York but went on to make a full recovery.
He, too, had complained of headaches.