Rugby fans were left reeling in horror over the weekend when a player suddenly collapsed and died on the field mid-game.
The player collapsed during the game between New Zealand’s Ruatoria City’s 2022 squad and a Ruatoria Centennial XV on Sunday after suffering a heart attack, according to the New Zealand Herald.
Despite extensive efforts to rescue the player, who was part of the Ruatoria City’s XV, he was pronounced dead at the scene and the match was abandoned.
A St John Ambulance spokesperson said paramedic crews and two ambulances attending the event responded to the incident.
A rescue helicopter from Gisborne – a city located on the Eastern Cape of New Zealand’s North Island, some 130kilometers south of Ruatoria – also intervened.
According to a statement from the local police force, an officer who was present at the event also joined the rescue effort, helping paramedics with CPR.
The Herald reported that there were “extensive efforts to save him” but that he ended up dying at the scene.
The match was canceled and “his body was removed from the pitch,” the report added.
Players reportedly took turns paying their respects to the player on the field and the ground was “to be blessed.”
Despite the man’s death, officials decided to move forward with the Lochore Cup final.
A spectator told the publication that within a few minutes of the player collapsing, multiple ambulances drove onto the field before a helicopter arrived on the scene.
As Slay News reported last week, a football player at Mississippi State University collapsed and died in an incident in which officials have provided few details.
Samuel Westmoreland, of Tupelo, Mississippi, announced back in March that he had decided to join the team after a “long and exciting recruiting process.”
Westmoreland, who received awards for his football achievements while at Tupelo High School, decided to major in industrial technology at Mississippi State University.
“The Mississippi State Athletics Family is heartbroken by the sudden death of Sam Westmoreland,” Head Coach Mike Leach said in a statement.
“Sam was a beloved son, brother, and teammate, and a tremendous young man with a limitless future.”
“He will always be remembered and deeply missed by everyone who knew and loved him,” Leach continued.
“The entire MSU Family mourns as our thoughts and prayers go out to the Westmoreland family.
“Our highest priority is the support of the Westmoreland family and our student-athletes during this troubling time.”
No details were released by the university about the cause of Westmoreland’s death and the school said that it was cooperating with an ongoing investigation into the matter by Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Office and the Oktibbeha County Coroner’s Office.
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