These cases are rare in sport, but are no less tragic anytime they occur.
Belgian defender Gregory Mertens, 24, died in hospital yesterday of heart failure; after being hospitalised since he collapsed during the first half of a reserve team game on Monday.
Gregory, who plays for Lokeren in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League, was treated on the pitch after his collapse during a game with Genk. He was later sent to hospital and placed on life support, but his condition worsened with doctors giving him little chance of survival.
Subsequently, his family agreed for his life support to be switched off.
The club released a statement; “The medical staff have done everything to save Gregory, but they finally had to acknowledge their impotence”
Football requires absurd levels of fitness, so clubs thoroughly screen players before they’re signed. And more stringent measures were introduced after Bolton’s Fabrica Muamba also suffered heart failure on the pitch, collapsing during a game in 2012. Gregory passed all the required tests, and was actually thought as one of the fittest at the club.
Condolences are being sent to his family from the football world, with international teammates Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, and Adnan Januzaj all sending in theirs.