Athletes Who Died During Game
There was a time when the winning position in a game used to be decided by the death of the opponent. Eventually, the games began a decrease in terms of cruelty, and started to be used much as a recreational entertainment. Starting from social sports of medieval times where games were often struck by tragic deaths of participants, there are many ancient records which claim participant’s deaths during an ongoing event of any sport.
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Arrachion of Phigalia was suffocated at the 564 BC Olympic Games during the pankration, and Iccus of Epidaurus was accidentally killed at the 492 BC Olympic Games during a boxing event. There are also records which claim that Pheidippides of Athens had died of exhaustion in 490 BC during the marathon running event. In modern days, all the events of any major sports have their own set of medical staff and emergency medical assistance to minimize the risk and to ensure care of any scenario after a fatal accident. But still, accidents and deaths can come in any form at any time, so here is the list of 10 Athletes Who Died During Game.
10 Athletes Who Died During Game
10. Ray Chapman
American baseball player Ray Chapman played as a shortstop for Cleveland Indians throughout his entire career. He is the only Major League Baseball player to face death from an injury during gameplay. Chapman holds the single-season record with 67 in 1917 and also placed sixth on the sacrifice hit all-time list. Chapman was hit by a pitch in the head thrown by Carl Mays of Yankees pitcher. This tragic accident happened in a game against the New York Yankees at the Polo Grounds on August 16, 1920. Chapman died in a New York City hospital 12 hours later the accident happened at about 4:30 A.M. Chapman was inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame in 2006.
9. Antonio Puerta
Spanish footballer Antonio Puerta played in Spain International Football team, Spain U21, Spain U23 and also played solely for Sevilla football club as left midfielder and an attacking left back. Puerta led his team Sevilla to achieve five major titles during his career with the club. He faced a series of cardiac arrests during a La Liga game against Getafe on the 25th August 2007 and died on 28 August 2007 affected with arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia. Puerta collapsed in the penalty area due to a cardiac arrest at homeground Sánchez Pizjuán against Getafe CF after only 35 minutes of the game. as a tribute all 22 participants having the name ‘PUERTA’ printed on the back of their jersey in Sevilla vs A.C. Milan on 31 August 2007.
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8. Duk Koo Kim
South Korean boxer Duk Koo Kim won 17 fights out of 20 fights that he ever participated in, out of which 8 wins came by knock-outs with his traditional Southpaw stance. He died during a world championship boxing match against Ray Mancini on November 13, 1982. Referee Richard Green stopped the fight after Kim went flying into the ropes because of simultaneous hard right-hand punches by Mancini and declared Mancini the winner by TKO nineteen seconds into the 14th round. He was rushed to the hospital where he was found to have “a subdural hematoma consisting of 100 cc of blood in his skull.” Koo Kim died four days after the fight with Mancini on November 17.
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7. Frank Hayes
American jockey and longtime stableman Frank Hayes was a champion horse trainer during the first two decades of 20th century. He suffered a fatal heart attack at Belmont Park in New York State, USA in the midst of a steeplechase on June 4, 1923. His heartbeat stopped while riding a 20-1 outsider horse called Sweet Kiss, owned by Miss A.M. Frayling. His body remained in the saddle throughout the race, but it was proved that he had apparently died somewhere in the middle of the race. The horse Sweet Kiss crossed the finish line in the lead with Hayes technically still atop her back which made Hayes the first and the only jockey known to have won a race after death. The horse Sweet Kiss was nicknamed “Sweet Kiss of Death” for the rest of her active life.
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6. Chuck Hughes
American football wide receiver Chuck Hughes played for Philadelphia Eagles from 1967 to 1969 and for Detroit Lions from 1970 to 1971 in the National Football League. Hughes is the only NFL player to die on the field during a game till date. He was drafted in the fourth round in the 1967 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. Hughes suffered a fatal heart attack during the final minutes of a match while playing for the Detroit Lions against the Chicago Bears at Tiger Stadium in Detroit on October 24, 1971. He collapsed on the Chicago Bears’ 15-yard line while jogging back to the huddle. To honor his contribution towards the achievements of the club at the NBA, Detroit Lions retired his number 85.
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5. Reggie Lewis
American professional basketball player Reggie Lewis played as a Small forward for the Boston Celtics in the NBA from 1987 to 1993. He was drafted in the first round as 22nd overall in the 1987 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics. Lewis was named America East Conference Player of the Year three times and became the NBA All-Star in 1992. After he achieved the 20.8 average points per game in each of his last two seasons with the Celtics, he suffered sudden cardiac death on the basketball court on July 27, 1993 at an off-season practice at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. After the tragic death of Lewis, his Number 35 jersey was retired by the Boston Celtics and also by the Northeastern.
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4. Bill Masterton
Canadian–American professional ice hockey centre Bill Masterton is the only player to die as a direct result of injuries during a game in NHL history. He played for the Minnesota North Stars in the National Hockey League in 1967–68 season. He faced a severe internal brain injury on the game against the Oakland Seals at the Met Center during the first period of Minnesota on January 13, 1968. The impact from the collision with Larry Cahan and Ron Harris caused Masterton to bleed from his nose, ears and mouth. He received emergency medical treatment in the dressing room and then rushed to Fairview-Southdale Hospital but died without ever regaining consciousness on January 15, some 30 hours after his tragic sports accident.
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3. Marc Vivien Foe
Cameroonian international footballer Marc Vivien Foe played 64 international matches as a midfielder for the Cameroon national football team and also played for famous clubs such as West Ham United, Olympique Lyonnais and also at Manchester City on loan. Vivien scored 8 goals during international appearances and scored 24 goals in his 201 club match appearances. This football superstar died at the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup where Cameroon faced Colombia in the semi-final at the Stade de Gerland in Lyon, France on 26 June 2003. Marc collapsed in the centre circle and died during the 72nd minute of the game due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. As a tribute Manchester City retired his number 23 shirt and Lyon also retired his number 17 jersey.
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2. Dale Earnhardt
American race car driver and team owner Dale Earnhardt is considered one of the best NASCAR drivers of all time and was nicknamed “The Intimidator” for his aggressive driving style. He won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 76 times and was placed in Top10 428 times and also won the NASCAR Nationwide Series 21 times and was placed in Top10, 75 times. Earnhardt was involved in a tragic last-lap crash while driving in the 2001 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2001 and died because of basilar skull fracture. After his tragic accident where his legendary saga stops, he was inducted in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006 and also inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010.
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1. Ayrton Senna
Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna is considered one of the greatest drivers in the history of F1. He is the third most successful driver of all time in terms of race wins with his 41 wins, 80 podiums and 3 championship titles. He holds a record of six titles at the Monaco Grand Prix and also acclaimed for his wet weather performances at 1984 Monaco Grand Prix, 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix and at the 1993 European Grand Prix. Senna died during his final race at the San Marino Grand Prix organized between Thursday, 28 April and Sunday, 1 May 1994, hosted at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit in Imola, Italy. He met with a tragic accident on lap 7 where he ran in a straight line off the track and hit the concrete wall at 233 kilometers per hour.
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There were also sad events where fans of sports were shocked by tragic accidents or disasters which took player life. First round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings Korey Stringer died due to a heat stroke during training camp on August 1, 2001. One of the most charismatic ball handlers in NBA history Pistol Pete Maravich collapsed and died of heart failure at the age 40 in a pickup game on January 5, 1988.
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