The death of British Olympic diver Tom Daley’s coach, David Jenkins, was revealed on Friday.
On October 9 of last year, David Jenkins, a 31-year-old from Chingford, East London, was found unresponsive in a pool in Antalya, Turkey.
David Jenkins, the Development Lead Coach for England’s top diving program Dive London, had spent the day coaching Great Britain’s top athletes following their success at the Tokyo Olympics before he died.
“Staff said he did exercises in the water and then died underwater,” according to testimony provided at the inquest by Alexei Evangulov, ex-National Performance Director for British Diving.
“When I got to the pool I saw him lying at the bottom of it where we usually train. He was lying face up and had his goggles on. I shouted ‘call an ambulance’ and grabbed him with my armpits, pulling him to the surface.”
“He was very heavy and I was in the water with him. I noticed a swimming coach from Denmark running to help and managed to pull him from the pool.”
Jenkins was rushed to the hospital in Turkey, where physicians performed CPR on him. Despite desperate attempts to revive him, he was later pronounced dead.
Now, more than a year later, an inquest at the North London Coroners Court in Barnet has concluded that he probably died of “Sudden Adult Death Syndrome” (SADS), Euro Weekly News reported.
According to Health Desk, sudden adult death syndrome, also known as SADS, occurs when a person under the age of 40 years old suffers a sudden death without a known cause after an autopsy and toxicology screen (drug test). SADS causes a cardiac arrest when the heart rapidly stomps pumping, and the body loses heart function, breathing, and consciousness.
A postmortem conducted by Dr. Deidre McKenna in the UK indicated that Mr. Jenkins did not have any traces of alcohol or narcotics in his system at the time of his death and that his GP records were normal.
Peter Straker, the Assistant North London Coroner, spoke to the family present at the inquest, trying to persuade them that it was a ‘normal’ event.
“There have been some high-profile cases, including famously, the footballer Christian Eriksen, whose heart stopped while he was on a football field,” he said when questioned by Jenkin’s family over his mysterious death.
“He had advanced life support available almost instantly. You can imagine what the result would have been if he was in a pool, if that is of any use.
“I don’t want you to be completely mystified as to why this had happened.”
The coroner ruled that the death was of natural causes.
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The inquest was told he was a fan of exercises where he would hold his breath underwater in line with the Wim Hof Method. The method- named after a Dutch extreme athlete nicknamed ‘the Iceman’ for holding his breath underwater in freezing temperatures- is based on a Tibetan meditation practice called Tummo meditation.
It is said to relieve stress, reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system. The coroner recorded a conclusion of death by natural causes, of which the medical cause was found to be adult cardiac death.
He told the family: “I cannot tell you how sorry I am. He was a bright young man and this is a terrible, terrible loss.”