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25-Year-Old Goalkeeper Passes Away After Stopping Penalty Kick During Contest


A 25-year-old goalkeeper died suddenly after stopping a penalty kick during a football contest in West Flanders, Belgium Saturday.

Arne Espeel of Winkel Sport B got up quickly after stopping a penalty in the second half but collapsed afterward.

“The ball was still in play”, assistant coach Stefaan Dewerchin of Winkel Sport B said.

“Our goalkeeper got up as quickly as possible to get the ball, but he fell down afterwards. It was really terrible to see.”

VRT reported:

The match was immediately halted and the emergency services spent half an hour trying to resuscitate the 25-year-old goalkeeper on the field. The keeper was then also taken to the hospital, but the help was of no avail. The young man had died. The cause is not yet known. An autopsy will follow on Monday.

“The players all showered together after the incident and then we sat down in the canteen,” says Dewerchin. “When the message came that our goalkeeper had died, what an unusually hard blow. I think some players do not yet realize what exactly happened.”

Nieuwsblad provided further details of the incident:

On Saturday evening, the team received Westrozebeke at 6 PM. After 45 minutes the score was 2-1 and after fifteen minutes into the second half there was a penalty for the visitors. Home goalkeeper Arne Espeel stopped Mohammed El Baghdadi’s penalty kick and shouted yes when he suddenly went down again. He was shaking and no one quite knew what was happening. When Espeel remained lying down, the seriousness of the situation was seen and the first care was given to him. The emergency services also arrived on site and did everything possible with, among other things, a defibrillator, but the help was to no avail.

His younger brother Aaron (20) sat back on the bench for the first time in weeks after an injury and saw everything happen before his eyes.

“This is a disaster and a shock to everyone,” said Patrick Rotsaert, sports manager of Winkel.

“Arne had been with the club all his life and was very loved. He was a wonderfully sympathetic boy, always in a good mood and ready to help. This is really a heavy blow. First of all for his family and also our whole club.”


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