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Tragic father-to-be never got to see his unborn child after collapsing while playing football following heart operation ‘after doctors had told him it was safe to play’, inquest told


  • Mitchell Joseph, 33, of Swansea, collapsed on the football pitch in July 2018
  • He had heart surgery a year earlier to fix a damaged valve caused by fall at work

An expectant father died after collapsing on a football pitch during a match without ever getting a chance to see his unborn baby, an inquest heard.

Mitchell Joseph, 33, of Swansea, south Wales, ran out with his teammates after being told it was safe to play football after a heart operation.

Defender Mr Joseph tragically collapsed just 30 minutes into a match on Saturday, January 13, 2018. He was later taken to Morriston Hospital and was worked on for two hours by doctors but could not be saved.

Doctors had told him an operation to fix a valve in his heart would help him ‘get on with his life’ including returning to the sport he loved.

His mother Beverley Stephens said: ‘Mitchell took advice from the doctors and now he is gone. We want to answer his daughter’s questions, “Why is my daddy not here?”

Mitchell Joseph, 33, pictured with his fiancée Laura Davies. Mr Joseph died two hours after his pregnant partner was rushed to hospital to give birth

Mitchell Joseph, 33, pictured with his fiancée Laura Davies. Mr Joseph died two hours after his pregnant partner was rushed to hospital to give birth

Carpenter Mr Joseph chose heart surgery in May 2017 after falling from a scaffold at work and scans showing a leaking valve to his left ventricle

Carpenter Mr Joseph chose heart surgery in May 2017 after falling from a scaffold at work and scans showing a leaking valve to his left ventricle

Mr Joseph had been planning to marry pregnant fiancée Laura Davies in a ceremony in Ibiza before he tragically died

Mr Joseph had been planning to marry pregnant fiancée Laura Davies in a ceremony in Ibiza before he tragically died

‘He went for a game of football with his mates, happy and healthy, and did not come home.’

Mr Joseph had been planning to marry pregnant fiancée Laura Davies in a ceremony in Ibiza before he tragically died.

In a statement to the hearing, Laura said: ‘I have lost out on my partner and him being a father to our baby.’

Carpenter Mr Joseph chose heart surgery in May 2017 after falling from a scaffold at work and scans showing a leaking valve to his left ventricle.

Weeks after having the operation he rode from Swansea to Paris for a charity bike ride and was soon back playing football.

Mr Joseph was playing for St Joseph’s AFC in Swansea against Maltsters Sports when he collapsed in January 2018. He died two hours later after his pregnant fiancée dashed to the hospital.

Doctors told the hearing Mr Joseph was right to have the operation – even though his heart deteriorated in the months following it.

Cardiologist Dr Clive Weston said: ‘There was evidence that his heart was not pumping as vigorously as one might have expected at the time of the operation.

‘Our hearts have a great deal of spare capacity we do not use at rest or in day to day activities.

‘There is some evidence that exercise, even in a heart impaired, is good for a person. Within two months of his operation, Mitchell was training for a charity bike ride, that is a sign of that spare capacity.’

Coroner Colin Phillips ordered the inquest to call for information on what advice was given to Mitchell by doctors.

The coroner said: ‘The main concern is how his condition was managed from the outset.

‘He is a young man and sport was his lifestyle choice. What advice was given to him?’

The Swansea inquest, set to last three days, continues.



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