Horror as player has heart attack
Spanish soccer almost mourned the loss of another player last weekend when Salamanca's Miguel García suffered a heart attack in the middle of his team's second division match against Real Betis.
In the 56th minute, García suddenly struggled to maintain balance after tying his shoe laces before buckling on his knees and smashing face-first into the ground. In a matter of seconds, other players and the match referee realised something was terribly wrong and frantically waved for medical help.
García was legally dead for 25 seconds, according to team physician José Ignacio Garrido, before being revived on the pitch and rushed to Salamanca's University Hospital, where he is currently recovering favourably.
Although a tragedy was averted, the 31-year-old midfielder knows that his playing days are over.
"We've tried to make him (García) realise that, given what he went through yesterday (Sunday) ... not playing again isn't the worst thing that could've happened," said Salamanca sporting director Baltasar Sánchez.
García's brush with death left many team-mates and opponents visibly distraught, and stirred painful memories of Antonio Puerta, a rising Spanish star who died of cardiac arrest at the age of 22 while playing for Sevilla in 2007.
While not on the pitch, another Spaniard, 26-year-old Espanyol captain Dani Jarque, suffered a fatal heart attack last year while talking on the phone with his pregnant girlfriend. And just a few months ago, a similar accident claimed the life of Jordi Pitarque, a player from the Catalonian third division.