Last Saturday, I was watching Sevilla play their first soccer match of the new season while Robin and our friend Tina worked on some tatting. A little more than half an hour into the match, one of the Andalusian club's players, Antonio Puerta, stopped running, bent over in a crouch, and then fell to the ground. The medics ran as fast as they could from the sideline ... meanwhile, one of Puerta's teammates who was closest to him, Serbian Ivica Dragutinović, went to Puerta ... the televised image, replayed several times, was frightening, as Drago reached into Puerta's mouth, trying to keep him from swallowing his tongue. The medics arrived, and a few minutes later, Puerta stood up. Everyone let out a sigh of relief as Puerta and the medics walked off the field into the changing room.
At halftime, I wandered into the kitchen and told Robin and Tina that a player seemed to have swallowed his tongue during the match. Didn't make much sense ... I'm not sure any of us had ever seen an example of someone actually swallowing their tongue ... we chatted about this a bit, and I went back to the match.
Unbeknownest to me, Puerta collapsed again in the changing room. He was rushed to the hospital, receiving CPR along the way.
Today, three days later, Antonio Puerta died. He was 22 years old. He leaves behind a girlfriend, who is expecting their first child.