Story By: Ernest Bio Bogore, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
An American football player has suddenly dropped dead in the middle of a match after suffering a heart attack.
Mathieu Garcia, 32, died on Saturday during a match in Nimes, in the Gard department in the southern Occitanie region in France.
The 32-year-old was in cardio-respiratory arrest when the fire brigade intervened to try to help him at the Kaufmann stadium, where a match between the teams of Nimes and Muret was taking place.
A member of the fire department told local media that the player had died “despite the actions of the fire brigade ambulance crew and the SMUR medical team.”
A psychological support cell has been set up to help people cope with the tragic incident.
Tributes to Garcia have also been pouring in.
The Scorpions, the American football team in Muret who Garcia played for, posted a touching message on social media last Sunday after the player’s death.
The post was captioned: “Today, our hearts are a little heavy.”
The message continued: “We are still in total incomprehension. You, our big guy, our steamroller, our indestructible, falling in front of us. You’ve given so much on and off the pitch for this club, this family.
“We’re going to keep all the positive things you’ve been able to pass on to us, all the happiness, the cheeky smile.
“We will remember you as the best among us, always with our hearts on our hands, ready to be of service. We’re going to remember you like this, good guy.”
Preliminary findings suggest that he suffered a massive heart attack, and the autopsy will have to confirm this.
Mathieu, who was reportedly an electrician when he was not on the pitch, was 32 years old and had discovered American football with the Muret Scorpions some 15 years ago.
Replying to the Scorpions post on social media, American football clubs from all over the country sent their condolences, with the Villeurbanne Falcons said: “All our condolences in these difficult times. Our thoughts go out to the family and all of their teammates. Be strong.”
And ‘Philippe Ballester’ said: “We didn’t know each other but we were face to face during this match. We are all very heartbroken by what happened to you. We will not forget you. We offer our sincere and deepest condolences to the Scorpions family and to their loved ones. Rest in peace Mathieu.”
While ‘Jason Hky’ said: “The Annecy Avalanches club join you in this terrible moment !!! Our condolences to the family and the whole team !!”
And ‘Arnaud Bamak Montgenie’ added: “On behalf of the Bears of Toulouse and myself, we offer our sincere condolences and wish you a lot of courage to all those close to you.”
While ‘Matthieu Orange’ said: “The Fenris of Dijon offer you our sincere condolences. Be strong in this ordeal.”
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