WHEN FOOTBALL TAKES A BACK SEAT: SEVEN TIMES FOOTBALL PLAYERS HAVE COLLAPSED ON FIELD OR IN TRAINING
Warning: This article contains content that may be triggering for some readers, reader discretion advised
The world fell silent when Christian Eriksen collapsed in the game against Finland in Euro 2020. Players and fans of both sides were praying as he was given CPR and was carried off the pitch on a stretcher. The game was suspended but thankfully Eriksen recovered and the game was resumed in his absence.
Football is a tough sport that takes a huge toll on your body, so you shouldn’t be surprised that this wasn’t the first time a player has collapsed on the pitch. We bring to you 7 players who have collapsed on the pitch or during training in the past.
FABRICE MUAMBA (2012)
Fabrice Muamba was 23 when he was playing for Bolton Wanderers in White Hart Lane against Tottenham Hotspur when all of a sudden he fell in the middle of the pitch without any contact. It turned out that Muamba got a cardiac arrest, which is different from a heart attack as it can happen to the healthiest of the lot. The paramedics rushed in but they couldn’t do anything other than giving CPR. Fabrice Muamba’s heart had stopped beating for 78 minutes!
— Bolton Wanderers and Proud (@ProudBW) March 3, 2021
On Monday because of the great work of medical experts, he was declaring himself fine and even talked to his family and teammates. It was reported that the instant CPR and oxygen given to the French player on the pitch helped a lot in his recovery. In 2006, Petr Cech had fractured his skull against Reading and he had to crawl himself off the pitch because of the lack of medical facilities, but in time the quality of medical experts and equipment by the touchline has immensely improved as in this case it saved Muamba’s life.
ABDELHAK NOURI (2017)
On July 8, 2017, Abdelhak Nouri was playing a friendly game against Werder Bremen. It took everyone 10 seconds to realise that Nouri was lying on the ground desperately trying to breathe. He had also suffered from a cardiac arrest but this time the on field treatment was not as top-notch since the match was a friendly in a smaller stadium.
Although his body recovered soon, the arrest had caused the Ajax player some brain damage as he went into a coma. In March 2020, after 2 years, 8 months and 19 days he finally fought through and got out of his coma. The player is fine now and his family is taking good care of him.
ANTONIO PUERTA (2007)
Antonio Puerta, a midfielder for Sevilla was playing against Getafe in a La Liga fixture. While jogging back he collapsed on the ground, but in a few seconds he got back up and walked with the paramedics himself, but later collapsed again in the dressing room.
11 years since the death of Antonio Puerta, our squad made their traditional flower offering to the legend’s statue this afternoon ❤️
Always with us, Antonio ❤️
— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) August 28, 2018
Another victim of a cardiac arrest but this time, the player didn’t survive. After 3 days in the hospital, he died because of multiple organ failures. He was one of the best young talents in football and would have surely been a household name if it wasn’t for that fateful incident.
CHEIK TIOTE (2017)
Cheik Tiote was a former Newcastle player who had just moved to the Chinese club Beijing Enterprises Group. He suffered from cardiac arrest during training and was rushed to a local hospital but the 30 year old was pronounced dead by the doctors.
He was one of the most fun and loved players of his time and hence the world was deeply shaken by his demise. He helped Newcastle come back from a 4-0 deficit to draw 4-4 once and has hence written his name in their history books for years to come.
MARC-VIVIEN FOE (2003)
Foe was 28 when he was playing in the semifinal of the Fifa Confederation Cup against Colombia. He fainted on the pitch and was rushed to the hospital but passed away an hour later. In the post mortem, it was found out that he suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is a hereditary heart condition that makes the walls of the heart thick due to heavy exercise and hence causes problems in the blood flow.
1 May 1975 – 26 June 2003
— Manchester City (@ManCity) June 26, 2020
Even less than two decades ago, the facilities available on the sidelines were not nearly as good as how it is now. Maybe if the incident had been in recent years, he might have survived, but the Cameroonian met a different end.
MIKLOS FEHER (2004)
Feher was a Hungarian striker playing for Benfica. He had come on as a substitute and during the stoppage time, he kneeled down and fell right on the spot. His teammates and coaches were crying on the pitch looking at the state of their future star. The doctors tried to save him but couldn’t help him as he died in 90 minutes.
— SL Benfica (@SLBenfica) January 25, 2020
The Turkish prodigy suffered from the same heart condition as Marc-Vivien Foe did a year ago. He was laughing with his teammates over a yellow card just a few seconds ago before he collapsed. Nobody saw it coming as the condition is asymptomatic.
PIERMARIO MOROSINI (2012)
Our last name on the list is a controversial one as it is believed that the player could have been saved if everything had happened on time. The 25-year-old Marosini was playing in a Serie B game for Livorno. Just four weeks after the incident with Fabrice Muamba, the young Italian player also collapsed in a similar fashion. A traffic police car was blocking the entrance which delayed the arrival of the ambulance, there was no cardiologist available at the ground and there was also no emergency defibrillator!
By the time the player reached the hospital, the doctors said that he was dead and had suffered from a cardiac arrest. Italy often prided itself for having the best medical facilities by the pitch and hence this incident was a huge shock for everyone. All matches in Italy were cancelled for a while after his untimely death.