Furloughed man dies from deep vein thrombosis after hours of gaming on lockdown

A bereft father has a message for parents and young gamers after the death of his 24-year-old son due to deep vein thrombosis: “Stand up, walk around and please warn your kids.”

In a heartbreaking post on Facebook, Stanley O’Neill, 56, from Harlington, Bedfordshire, in the UK, told friends and family how he lost his son, Louis, last month.

“On 3rd June something so awful happened, the worst imaginable thing,” he wrote on June 23. “My son, my dear boy, Louis, has gone. Not from the evil virus but because of it … This damn lockdown. After being furloughed he took to his gaming world to escape. Caught up in a virtual world he became less active, so easily done.”

Louis, who was a soccer coach at Center Parcs in Hertfordshire, a recreational estate for vacationers in England, had been furloughed since mid-March, when most of the country was ordered to shelter at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

As an escape, Louis’ father said he took to online gaming with friends to pass the time. Stanley said Louis “became less active” and allowed “hours [to] fly by when absorbed by the screen.”

“I’ve done it countless times myself,” he added. “But no one, and I mean no one, ever in a million years would have predicted a blood clot. And just like that, it ripped my son away and I died inside along with him.”

In May, two weeks before his death, Louis complained about a pain in his leg. When he called emergency responders, they told him it could be food poisoning. How that conclusion was made has not been revealed.

“Who is warning youngsters? Who is warning anyone, of any age?” Stanley asked. “My son will live on, I shall continue to spread this warning in his name.”

The father, who is also an accomplished athlete, knew that long periods of sedentation — a requisite for avid gamers — can result in DVT, especially for aging individuals who are more prone to vascular issues compared to young people.

DVT is a life-threatening medical condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein located near the center of the body — making it more difficult to pinpoint and access. If left unattended, the clot will prompt debilitating pain and could result in a pulmonary embolism. The often fatal condition is caused by a blood clot breaking loose and making its way to your lungs, thereby blocking the lung artery and causing low blood-oxygen.

There are a number of risk factors associated with DVT, such as obesity, smoking, pregnancy, heart disease, certain medications and hormone treatments, but Stanley thinks his son’s death could have been prevented had she just taken more time each day to move his legs — which promoted blood flow and reduces the likelihood of clotting.

“As more and more of us are working from home it is likely you are not getting out your chair as much as you need. Stand up, walk around, and please, warn your kids,” Stanley pleaded.

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