5 Football Players Who Collapsed on the Pitch but Didn’t Survive

Football has written many beautiful stories. Unfortunately, it also happens repeatedly that the sport brings up sad stories, for example, in the tragic cases where football players collapse and die on the pitch. The experience changes an exciting game into a horror scene. We take a look at five footballers who suffered this tragic fate.

1. Marc-Vivien Foe (1975-2003)

On June 26, 2003, in the 73rd minute of the game between Cameroon and Colombia (1-0) in the Confederations Cup, disaster struck for Marc-Vivien Foé. With no opponent nearby, the Cameroonian, a bear of a guy, suddenly goes went down. The sudden collapse created a tensed atmosphere. 

Efforts were made to resuscitate him on the field, but he didn’t wake up. While his teammates watched in tears, the lifeless body of the Manchester City midfielder was carried on a stretcher into the catacombs. Foé was only 28 years old. He is the only footballer to die in a final tournament.

Three days after Foé’s death, Cameroon played the final of the Confederations Cup against host country France. After the final battle, the countries pose brotherly with the cup and a large portrait of Foé.

2. Miklos Feher (1979-2004)

In the final phase of the game between Vitória de Guimarães and Benfica (January 25, 2004), Miklos ‘Miki’ Feher came on the field to score a narrow victory for Benfica (0-1).

The Hungarian international immediately took yellow by stalling at the corner flag. As Feher walked back to his half with a grin, he suddenly went unconscious and fell down.

Three hours later, the death of their teammate due to heart failure was confirmed.

The number 29 at Benfica belongs to the Hungarian for eternity. The following season, the club took the national title, and his father and mother received ‘his’ medal on the field.

3. Antonio Puerta (1985-2007)

Antonio Puerta was only 22 years old when his heart gave out. The Sevilla left-back was on the field of his beloved Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. In the 35th minute against Getafe, Sevilla was ahead with a goal. Puerta suddenly lost consciousness but was renewed by the medical staff. 

He afterward walked himself to the dressing room, where he collapsed again. His teammates only heard after the 4-1 victory that Puerta is no more. 

Two days later, the body of Puerta was laid out in ‘his’ stadium. More than ten thousand fans paid their last respects to Puerta – many of them from arch-rival Real Betis. Puerta left behind a seven-month pregnant wife.

4. Patrick Ekeng (1990-2016)

The death of Patrick Ekeng in May 2016 caused a stir. The international players’ union FIFPro accused the authorities in Romania of intervening half-heartedly when Ekeng slumped during the match; he played for Dinamo Bucharest. One wonders whether his death could have been prevented.

Due to his health condition, Ekeng was said to be more likely to have heart problems according to a doctor interviewed by a Romanian news agency. From his statement, it is inevitable that the Cameroonian died as a result of a heart problem. Research also shows that the ambulance service that provided first aid and transported Ekeng to the hospital acted amateurishly. 

His death raised further awareness into the discussion about the subpar medical care given to professional football players in less developed countries.

5. Piermario Morosini (1985-2012)

When his club, AS Livorno, played Delfino Pescara, Piermario Morosini suddenly collapsed away from the action.

He tried to get up again but couldn’t. He suffered cardiac arrest and could not be resuscitated despite extensive attempts at resuscitation. He died on April 14, 2012, at the age of 27.


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