This entry is a bit of a surprise to I myself but I just couldn’t but help noticing something quite alarming in the world of soccer sports. It all started when I came across an online footage of a tragic moment in football. A Hungrarian footballer collapsed suddenly on the field during a game and died on the spot.

His name was Miklós Fehér.

The footage was shocking. One moment the dude was smiling and the next he crashed to the ground. I watched as team players and officials tried to revive him. Then there was panic as the realization that he might be dead sent all his teammates into sorrowful fits as they began to cry…

I googled Miklós Fehér and found out what actually killed him was some kind of heart ailment with some big name. Fehér died from ventricular fibrillation brought on by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. I guessed from the ‘bigness’ of the name it was some sort of nasty killer.

My search them led me to other footballers who had also died while playing on the field. I discovered shocking facts;

Almost everyone of them died of a heart problem!
They were mostly young fellows in their prime.
They died quicker without chance of survival.
With very minimal exceptions, it happened while they were on the field.
Nigeria and other African countries were not left out in the string of football deaths.

It made me ask the question, is soccer a jinxed sport? I’m really not a soccer enthusiast but I can’t help noticing some things which may be overlooked.

Here’s the shocking roll call of some recorded insidents;

Renato Curi - suffered a heart attack on October 30, 1977 while playing for Perugia in a Serie A match against Juventus. Perugia's ground is named after him.

Samuel Okwaraji - Okwaraji collapsed and died while playing for Nigeria against Angola in a World Cup Qualifier on August 12, 1989. An autopsy showed that the 24-year-old had an enlarged heart and high blood pressure.

David Longhurst - suffered a heart attack on the pitch while playing for York City against Lincoln on 8 September 1990. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. To honor his memory, York City named one of the stands at the Bootham Crescent stadium after him.

1997: Emmanuel Awanegbo, a Nigerian playing in Germany, died after only 12 minutes of play. The death was attributed to cardiac arrest.

1995: Amir Angwe, 29, a striker for the Julius Berger Club of Nigeria, collapsed a minute before the end of an African Cup Winner's Cup semi-final match with Maxaquene of Mozambique. Doctors believe he died of a heart attack.

February 2000: John Ikoroma, a 17-year-old Nigerian youth international, suffered a heart attack during a friendly match in the United Arab Emirates. He was in a trial match for Al-Wahda against Kazakh Club Astona when he collapsed 20 minutes before the final whistle. He died in hospital.

Eri Irianto -The Persebaya Surabaya's midfielder passed away at 1:45 AM on April 2, 2000 in Dr. Sutomo Hospital in Surabaya, East Java after heart failure. Eri was taken to the hospital during halftime of Persebaya's league match against PSIM Yogyakarta because he said that he was having trouble breathing. He had some treatment at the hospital but there was nothing the doctors could do to save his life.

Marc-Vivien Foé - collapsed while playing for Cameroon on June 26, 2003 whilst playing in the FIFA Confederations Cup semifinal between his country and Colombia, and died shortly afterward in hospital. An autopsy later revealed the cause of death was a heart attack caused by an enlarged right ventricle.

January 25, 2004: Benfica's Hungarian international striker Miklos Feher, 24, collapsed during a Portuguese league match against Vitoria Guimaraes and never regained consciousness. The autopsy revealed he had suffered from a heart malformation.
In memory of him, Benfica have retired the number 29 shirt which he wore during his time at the club.

October 27, 2004: Brazilian Serginho, 30, collapsed during a Brazilian first division match between his club Sao Caetano and Sao Paulo and later died. His death caused a huge controversy after the autopsy revealed that his heart weighed 600 grams, twice the normal size. Sao Caetano, the club's president and the doctor were sanctioned by Brazil's sporting authorities.

Matt Gadsby of Hinckley United collapsed on the pitch on September 9, 2006, during a Conference North game against Harrogate Town and died soon afterwards in Harrogate District Hospital. Medical tests revealed he died from a heart condition known as Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy, an inherited condition that affects the muscle of the right ventricle of the heart.

Cristiano Junior collided with Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Subrata Paul in the 78th minute of the Federation Cup finals while scoring his second goal after chasing the ball into the box, staggered away, then collapsed. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. The game continued after Junior was taken off the field. He was dead on arrival at Hosmat Hospital. Dempo won the Cup, 2-0. He was the highest paid footballer in India

Antonio Puerta: 22 year old Sevilla FC player Puerta died on August 28, 2007 of multiple organ failure, stemming from prolonged cardiac arrest, three days after suffering from several heart attacks during a league game against Getafe CF on 25 August, 2007.

Chaswe Nsofwa: Zambia-born player signed by Hapoel Beersheba, died on August 29, 2007 from sudden heart failure during a training match against Maccabi Beersheba.





8 Screamer(s):

Charizard said...

wow..sad...perhaps all th running around aint so good..

pamela said...

so sad.

I think it is the stress of the game.

talk abt some scary shit!!!!!! wow


I am so happy Kanu found out about his heart condition on time and did something abt it.

But sometime i cnt help but wonder if the clubs didnt know abt thse players' conditions or iff they chosse to ignore them.

If these deaths had occured only in Africa we would have concluded its becos our football is poorly funded and we lack the necessary medical infrastructure and know how.

But when it happens in Europe, then i just wonder what is happening?

Standtall said...

Ki Oluwa ma so wa. I dont think it's the spot that is jinxed, I think is the people that need to take care of their health before going for powerful sports like football. It's a sad story to have lost so much people.

Naapali said...

Most sudden deaths of young physically fit people are from cardiac arrhythmias. Essentially the heart beat is a well orchestrated electrical activity with a conductor and a defined pathway. Some congenital (born with) defects may put people at higher risk of developing an arrhythmia (funky beat). The worst funky beat is ventricular fibrillation (V.fib) because it usually leads to death unless a defibrillator (those pads made famous on ER, where they shout "clear")is available or CPR can be carried out until a defibrillator becomes available.

Most common in young athletes that develop V.Fib is the Long QT syndrome, which can be treated with medicines and sometimes an implantable defibrillator. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is not as common but also predisposes people to funky beats including V.Fib.

In the case of the person that collided with someone else then collapsed, he probably had Comotio Cordis. This is when a blow to the heart at a critical time during the electrical activity of the heart sends the person into that dangerous funky beat, V.Fib.

All the above are not common only to soccer but happen in all sports especially those that require vigorous activity, sweating etc.

Countries like Italy have proposed doing more to screen young athletes with echocardiograms and electrical activity monitoring. The limitation is that as a proportion of people engaged in active sports, the number of sudden deaths is extremely low making those screening techniques prohibitively expensive for the gain achieved.

Sting said...

What's up with featuring dead players, and even providing videos of their deaths? Weird.

Dania L. said...

I was (and still am) a huge fan of Miklos Feher, had my room full of pics of him and other soccer players , I am a big fan of soccer and was actually watching this game on tv when this happened on January 2004,I was 14 yrs old a little over 10 years have gone by.... it was sad to see someome I admired die on TV... RIP Miklos "Mikii" Feher.