Late yesterday another player — the Zambian striker Chaswe Nsofwa, 27, who plays for Hapoel Beersheva in Israel — collapsed during a scrimmage. He was taken to a hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival. The cause of death has yet to be determined.
Writing about Puerta, one Spanish newspaper, La Razón, said “the heart of football has stopped.”
Unfortunately, it is not the first time a soccer player has died from a heart attack in recent years.
*On Tuesday, Leicester City’s 27-year-old defender Clive Clarke suffered two heart attacks during halftime of his club’s Carling Cup game against Nottingham Forest. He was listed in stable condition yesterday. According to the BBC, Clarke was treated with a defibrillator in the Leicester City locker room and was conscious when he was taken to the hospital.
*Perhaps the most public of incidents occurred during the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup in France when Marc-Vivien Foe of Cameroon collapsed in the center circle during a game against Colombia in Lyon and later died. Foe had been a member of Cameroon’s 1994 and 2002 World Cup teams and was a member of the squad that won the African Nations Cup in 2000 and 2002. He was 28.
*Hugo Cunha, a midfielder of União Leiria in Portugal collapsed and died during a pickup game with friends in 2005. He was 28.
*The Brazilian striker Márcio Dos Santos scored a goal for his Peruvian club, Deportivo Wanka, in a game in October 2002. Hours later he suffered a heart attack and died. He was 28.
*In January 2004, Miklos Feher, a 24-year-old Hungarian, collapsed from a heart attack and died during a match between Benfica and Vitoria Guimarães in Portugal.
*Dave Longhurst, 20, a striker for York City in England collapsed right before halftime of a game between his York City club and Lincoln City in England in September 1990. An autopsy found that he had suffered from a rare heart disorder.
*Serginho, a defender for São Caetano in Brazil, crumpled to the turf away from play in the 59th minute of a game against São Paulo in October 2004. Doctors on the field were unsuccessful in their attempts to revive him using CPR. At the time, club medical officials said Serginho had been receiving treatment for heart problems. He was 30.
One has to wonder if FIFA needs to be taking more precaution prior to the season and require all players to have the most thorough heart exams possible.
Here are pictures of the memorials for Puerta that took place across Spain