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Thread: Captain of Scottish soccer team dies after collapsing during game

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    Captain of Scottish soccer team dies after collapsing during game

    Captain of Scottish soccer team dies after collapsing during game

    December 29, 2007

    MOTHERWELL, Scotland (AP) -- The captain of a Scottish Premier League soccer team died Saturday, collapsing during a game just as he was about to leave the field for a substitute.

    Phil O'Donnell, a 35-year-old midfielder for Motherwell, fell to the ground at Fir Park and was carried off on a stretcher and taken by ambulance to a hospital.

    Motherwell said its medical staff and that of Dundee United believed O'Donnell had a seizure, but did not elaborate. Club chairman Bill Dickie said there will be an autopsy.

    "This is an unspeakable tragedy for Phil's family," Motherwell owner John Boyle said in a statement. "Everyone at Motherwell is shocked to the core and we are sure that everyone involved in Scottish football will feel the same.

    "Phil was not only an inspirational player for Motherwell and club captain, but was an inspirational person. All of us at Motherwell are thinking of his wife, Eileen, and their four children."

    O'Donnell collapsed before he could be replaced by substitute Marc Fitzpatrick. He was treated on the field for about five minutes and Fitzpatrick entered in the 78th minute.

    O'Donnell's nephew David Clarkson, who had scored twice for Motherwell, was substituted a few moments later because he was upset by what happened.

    Saturday's game was played to completion, the teams apparently unaware of O'Donnell's condition. Motherwell won 5-3.

    "I don't want to say anything more than how devastated everyone at the club is for his wife and his young children," Motherwell manager Mark McGhee said. "That's what we are all feeling tonight. Nothing else matters."

    O'Donnell started his career at Motherwell before stints with Celtic and Sheffield Wednesday. He also played once for Scotland, entering as substitute in a World Cup qualifier against Switzerland in 1993. He scored for Motherwell in its 4-3 victory over Dundee United in the 1991 Scottish Cup final.

    Former Scotland manager Craig Brown gave O'Donnell his only international appearance.

    "I think everyone in the game will acknowledge what a wonderful player he was and an outstanding gentleman," Brown told Sky Sports News. "And I would expect to have a minute's applause at every ground in Scotland at the next fixture."

    O'Donnell's death recalled that of Cameroon midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe, who collapsed and died at the 2003 Confederations Cup in France. That prompted soccer's ruling body to demand a general physical and thorough cardiovascular tests on all players leading to last year's World Cup in Germany.

    This past summer, Sevilla midfielder Antonio Puerta died after he collapsed on the field during a Spanish league game. He had a weak right ventricle, and his death was one of at least three in soccer in August.

    Striker Chaswe Nsofwa died of heart failure while training in Israel. A player for the English team Walsall, 16-year-old Anton Reid, died after collapsing while training.

  2. #2
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    HDCent, you're a Dr right?

    Are you surprised by the amount of on-field deaths or are these just accidents that can happen to anyone, no matter the age or how fit they are?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RaoulDuke View Post
    HDCent, you're a Dr right?

    Are you surprised by the amount of on-field deaths or are these just accidents that can happen to anyone, no matter the age or how fit they are?
    Yes I am. Don't know the details of this case, but most episodes of sudden death in young athletes are related to congenital heart problems, some of which are very difficult to pick up without a prior family history. Also the first presentation is most often sudden death. The frequency is not great, but they are more newsworthy than an 80 year old dieing suddenly.

    Typically sudden death under age 30 is due to a congenital heart problem, over 30 from coronary artery disease. Yes, CAD is rare in young athletes, but it does happen- remember the Russian figure skater from about 10 years ago?

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    Quote Originally Posted by HDCentStOhio View Post
    Yes I am. Don't know the details of this case, but most episodes of sudden death in young athletes are related to congenital heart problems, some of which are very difficult to pick up without a prior family history. Also the first presentation is most often sudden death. The frequency is not great, but they are more newsworthy than an 80 year old dieing suddenly.

    Typically sudden death under age 30 is due to a congenital heart problem, over 30 from coronary artery disease. Yes, CAD is rare in young athletes, but it does happen- remember the Russian figure skater from about 10 years ago?
    Uh, yes you are a Dr or yes you are surprised? Or both maybe. :-)

    I guess what I was getting at is, and I know you're speculating since you don't have knowledge of these cases: do you think these problems are picked up during physicals these athletes go through when signing a contract and are ignored by team doctors? Pressure, money...etc, they just say "He has a condition, lets just see how it works out". A bit like concussions in the NFL I guess.

    The Sevillan player who died this year had multiple strokes before his on field attack that killed him.
    Last edited by RaoulDuke; 01-03-2008 at 04:27 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RaoulDuke View Post
    Uh, yes you are a Dr or yes you are surprised? Or both maybe. :-)

    I guess what I was getting at is, and I know you're speculating since you don't have knowledge of these cases: do you think these problems are picked up during physicals these athletes go through when signing a contract and are ignored by team doctors? Pressure, money...etc, they just say "He has a condition, lets just see how it works out". A bit like concussions in the NFL I guess.

    The Sevillan player who died this year had multiple strokes before his on field attack that killed him.
    I am a physician who specializes in sports medicine. I have done many preseason physicals. The problem is that many of these conditions do not present themselves from a routine physical, and even with EKG and echocardiogram. I don't think it is a matter of people ignoring suspicious findings, for the most part. Again, individual exceptions may be seen out there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HDCentStOhio View Post
    I am a physician who specializes in sports medicine. I have done many preseason physicals. The problem is that many of these conditions do not present themselves from a routine physical, and even with EKG and echocardiogram. I don't think it is a matter of people ignoring suspicious findings, for the most part. Again, individual exceptions may be seen out there.
    Got it. Thanks.

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