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Friday, June 18, 1999 Published at 17:56 GMT 18:56 UK


Peanut allergy athlete dies

Ross Baillie: A bright prospect

Scottish hurdler Ross Baillie has died in hospital after suffering a severe allergic reaction.

Baillie, 21, who was allergic to peanuts, collapsed with anaphylactic shock after eating a chicken sandwich during a break in training in Bath.

The BBC's Jane O'Brien: "One of Britain's most promising athletes"
The Scottish senior record holder and finalist in the 110m hurdles in last year's Commonwealth Games, was taken to the Royal United Hospital in Bath where he died at 1100 on Friday.

Baillie was with international swimmer Mark Foster during training on Wednesday and both chose a sandwich with a coronation chicken filling for lunch.

Minutes after he bit into his sandwich, Baillie realised there were peanuts in it as his tongue started to swell and he began coughing.

[ image: Colin Jackson: Athlete's mentor]
Colin Jackson: Athlete's mentor
He was taken to doctors at the nearby University of Bath where he was given an adrenalin injection before being taken to hospital where he failed to regain consciousness.

His mother Sheila and father Hugh, who were both athletics stars, travelled from their home in Clydebank and were at his bedside when he died.

Dr Tim Craft, of the Royal United Hospital, said staff battled in vain to save the young athlete's life and he died from complications following the severe allergic reaction.

He said: ""Ross was critically ill from the moment he arrived here suffering from a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

"The sandwich he ate possibly contained peanut oil and an allergic reaction to that is one of the most severe forms resembling an extreme asthma attack.

"He died this morning from complications relating to the allergyl.

"It has been harrowing treating him and everyone is very upset, the atmosphere is muted. But we need to balance that with the need to look after his parents."

Tributes to the athlete were led by Sports Minister Tony Banks, who said Baillie's death was an "appalling tragedy".

"He was an immensely talented athlete with an extremely bright future ahead of him," he said.

BBC Scotland's Joanne Macaulay reports on Ross Baillie's tragic death
"My thoughts are with Ross's family - the enormous loss by British athletics is only a tiny fraction of what they must be feeling now."

Vicky Hastie, from the Anaphylaxis Campaign, whose son suffers from a peanut allergy, said: "It can take a tiny, tiny amount.

"Some people will react even to the smell of peanuts and that will put them into anaphylactic shock."

Fellow students at the University of Bath have laid a wreath in the shape of a thistle in memory of Baillie.

The athlete was training alongside hurdler Colin Jackson and his coach Malcolm Arnold and had been sharing a flat with Jackson.

[ image: Chris Baillie: Following family tradition]
Chris Baillie: Following family tradition
Baillie broke the Scottish record for the 110m hurdles at the Commonwealth Games in 1998.

He was a member of the Victoria Park Athletic Club in Glasgow and twice broke the 60m hurdles record during the winter.

Welshman Jackson considered Baillie his natural successor in the 110m hurdles race and tipped him to run under 13.20 secs this year, which would have put him among the world's best male hurdlers.

He was due to take part in an international competition at Mannheim in Germany at the weekend, in the run-up to the European Junior Championships in Finland this summer, where he was tipped to win gold.

Baillie's younger brother Chris has been tipped to follow in his footsteps and has broken all of his junior records.

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18 Jun 99 | UK
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Internet Links

1998 Commonwealth Games

British Athletics

Scottish Athletics

Allergy Information Research - Anaphylaxis

Medical symptoms of anaphylaxis

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