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Soccer Player Piermario Morosini Dies After Collapsing During


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By the time he was 17 years old, both of Italian footballer Piermario Morosini’s parents had died, leaving him head of a household that included two disabled siblings.

Shortly thereafter his brother committed suicide.

“There are things that mark you and change your life,” Morosini, a highly touted young talent at the time, said then. “But at the same time they instill in your body so much anger and help you to always give everything to realize what was also my parents’ dream.”

Morosini struggled on, never quite capitalizing on early promise, but clinging tenaciously to his absent family’s dream. He played for the Italian national team at every youth level, but never made a senior appearance.

He debuted in Serie A as a teenager, but could not find regular football there. The 25-year-old midfielder bounced from club to club, playing for six in all.

In the end, there would be no respite for Morosini, only more tragedy.

While playing for his Serie B side Livorno on Saturday, Morosini collapsed in the 31st minute. He could be seen trying to pick himself up off the pitch until medics reached him. Chaotic scenes ensued as frantic players from both teams tried to usher an ambulance onto the field.

According to Italian media reports, an unattended police cruiser was blocking the tunnel mouth leading on to the field. The car was only moved after bystanders smashed a window and shoved it out of the way.

Several long minutes after he’d fallen, Morosini was loaded onto the ambulance. He was declared dead on arrival at a local hospital. The cause of death is believed to be a heart attack.

“It’s an incredible destiny,” one of Morosini’s former teammates, Roberto Baronio, said on Saturday. “Now he can embrace all his family.”

The Italian football authority quickly moved to postpone all matches across the country this weekend.

Morosini’s death immediately called to mind the collapse of Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba during an FA Cup contest less than a month ago. Muamba also suffered a heart attack. Like Morosini, he had never shown the warning signs of heart disease, despite frequent physicals.

Muamba received immediate medical assistance, including that of a cardiologist who leapt from the stands to help.

The Congolese-born Englishman is in the midst of recovery, though he is unlikely to play professional football again.

It is expected that Morosini’s death will result in a sweeping investigation of emergency preparedness at Italian stadiums, which are notoriously decrepit. More broadly, it also pushes the issue of cardiac health to the top of football’s international agenda.

“Only tears,” FIFA president Sepp Blatter tweeted in Italian shortly after Morosini’s death was announced.

The Italian is the third high-profile European-based player to die as the result of a heart attack during a game in the last decade.

Cameroonian international Marc-Vivien Foe died after suffering a cardiac arrest during a Confederations Cup match in 2003.

Five years ago, Sevilla winger Antonio Puerta collapsed during a match after heart failure, and died three days later.

Morosini’s death has already struck a chord that few previous sporting deaths have, in large part because of his blighted background.

“When the referee stopped the game, we all came close and understood,” said Luca Anania, the goalkeeper for the Pescara side which was playing Livorno. “Then we found out the lad did not even have any parents.”

Like almost everyone else on the pitch Saturday, Anania left in tears.

Really just a tragic, tragic story considering what his family history already was.

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