A businessman and former team captain at Edgbaston’s Priory tennis club collapsed and died on court after suffering sudden heart problems while playing.
The swift intervention of a doctor who was playing nearby was not enough to save the life of Robin Cull, former managing director of Hampton Works in Stirchley, an inquest heard.
Mr Cull, who was 53 and from Bournville, collapsed on September 7 last year. He had been a keen tennis player and a former men’s over 45s team captain at the club.
An inquest into his death at Birmingham Coroner’s Court this week heard nothing could be done to save him, despite a doctor from a neighbouring tennis court rushing to his aid and providing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
Michael Snell, assistant deputy coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, said: “He was playing tennis and he collapsed. There were people there, including a doctor on the next court who tried to help him. They said they tried all the tests and there was nothing they could do.”
Mr Cull was rushed by ambulance to the Queen Elizabeth hospital where CPR was continued but he was later pronounced dead.
Giving evidence, Mr Cull’s wife Anne said her husband was a keen sportsman who played a lot of tennis and swam a lot.
Shortly before his death she told how they had been attending a football match where he had felt dizzy but had later been checked out and told he was “fine”.
Pathologist Dr Gerald Langman told the inquest people sometimes suffered abnormal heart rhythms that could be dangerous or lethal but he had not found any evidence of this.
He said: “There wasn’t an obvious cause I could see with the naked eye. He wasn’t overweight for his height and his heart was of normal size.
“The arteries bringing nutrients to the heart were not clogged up – one of the most common things found. I couldn’t find any obvious deposits.”
Dr Langman said further tests were carried out and added: “In this case it wasn’t a straightforward case where you could look and say it was a massive heart attack or a stroke.”
Dr Langman said there had been some scarring to Mr Cull’s heart and that a small vessel had been blocked by it. He said: “Part of the heart muscle died and that under certain circumstances causes the heart to go into abnormal rhythm suddenly.
“There is no way you could have found this out before and tests on coronary arteries would have been all clear.
“It wasn’t a heart attack as such, which people broadly classify as a clot in one of the main coronary arteries and the main muscle doesn’t get any oxygen. It beats normally but then goes into a shiver.
“It was brought on because the heart wasn’t getting enough oxygen and had previously been starved of oxygen.”
Mr Snell, who recorded that Mr Cull died as a result of ischemic heart disease, added that it was a “sudden event” with “no history suggesting such a thing might happen”.
He added: “Whatever the case we have a man who was previously very fit and active.”