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Last Saturday Sevilla midfielder Antonio Puerta collapsed during a Primera Liga match against Getafe.

On Tuesday, at 22 years old, he was dead.

While Puerta was able to walk off the field under his own power, he collapsed again in the dressing room and had to have cardiac resuscitation before being taken to the hospital. However, he remained in critical condition and could never recover from the prolonged cardiac arrest.

It was a sad day not only for Puerta and his family (he was going to be a father in a month and a half), but also for the football world in general. Having this happen to such a young and promising player is a reminder that while we may put our sports stars on pedestals, they are still fragile and mortal human beings.

But how does something like this happen? It’s not the first time either. Cameroon’s Marc-Vivien Foe collapsed and died in 2003, and Miklos Feher of Benfica died in January 2004. Serginho, a defender for Sao Caetano also died in a match in 2004, while, Hugo Cunha died in 2005.

Soccer players are some of the fittest athletes on the globes and must pass strenuous physical examinations to be able to play. Puerta himself passed Sevilla’s tests before the season began, which is why this tragedy is so disconcerting.

When Wayne Rooney broke his foot, the press called into question the protection that modern soccer shoes provided and blew the event out of the water. Now something much more serious has occurred and I’m waiting to hear the outcry over the loss of a player, not just for a few months, but forever. This isn’t a call to point blame anywhere. I just don’t want to see another athlete never make it back to the field.


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