An appalling coincidence

Twice in the last few days players have had heart attacks on the pitch. Sevilla and Spain midfielder Antonio Puerta died on Tuesday after suffering several heart attacks, starting on the pitch during a game against Getafe. Evidently he suffered from a hard-to-diagnose heart defect which left him susceptible to arrhythmia. He was buried today in a private ceremony following a memorial at the Sevilla stadium attended not just by Sevilla fans but also supporters of city rival Real Betis. Sevilla’s Champions League match against AEK in Athens has been postponed. Puerta was 22, and expecting his first child with his girlfriend in October.

In addition, a Carling Cup match between Leicester and Nottingham Forest was abandoned after Leicester defender Clive Clarke, on loan from Sunderland, collapsed in the dressing room at half-time and had to be defibrillated twice. He’s all of 26, but is currently awake and alert while under observation in hospital.

I know that this is not unprecedented – it’s not that long since Marc Vivien Foe died on the field during an international game – but it’s always distressing – partly on selfish grounds (as in, shit I’m 10 – 15 years older with a family history of heart disease, and entirely unfit, what’s my heart up to?) and not, in thinking of the family Puerta left behind. Condolences to them all, for a dreadful and very public loss.

Clarke recovering in hospital as agent reveals heart fears

Seville pays emotional tribute to Puerta


6 Responses

  1. Eerie.

    Even more eerie that ANOTHER player in Zambia collapsed and died yesterday at practice in Israel; Chaswe Nsofwa was a 27 year old international from Zambia.

    That’s 3 in 5 days, with 2 dead.

    What. The. Fuck?

  2. Jesus and the baby orphans. What the hell?

  3. Dios Mio- 16 year old Walsall trainee Anton Reid collapsed and died last Monday in a practice session.

    That’s 4 collapses and 3 deaths in 10 days.

    I’m trying to research if this is as amazingly unusual as it looks, or if it happens fairly regularly but we’re hearing more about it currently because of the super high profile of the Puerta situation…

  4. caffeine based energy drinks. seriously

    pure speculation, but with the right sensitivity someone consuming an excessive amount (warm up, practice, game time dehydration during the late summer months plus the dehydration from the caffiene itself leading to serious guzzling) and the heart goes boom – ventrical fibrillation to be specific.

    the heart goes so fast that it loses its rhythm, kind of shuts down and you pass out within a minute and unless the fibrillation is stopped you go kaput.

    keep in mind, i have only seen a medical school once. grain of salt time.

  5. Not to be uncouth, but is this a new phenomenon in football. I am wondering, ’cause if it’s been recurring for upward of a decade, even two decades, why havn’t steps been taken to address this (as much as preventive measures can be taken)? I recall, in my youth, the various game/practice deaths of Hank Gathers & Reggie Lewis, but havn’t encountered much in that way since. (Not least because most (all?) gyms, even at the high-school level, feature defibrilators on-site., I’m sure.) Is this a measure that the various football federations have pursued? Obviously, Carling’s stadium has it, but… Where else? What other risks are the team’s not vigilant about?

  6. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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