There was a time when the winning position in a game used to be decided by the death of the opponent. Eventually, the games began a decrease in terms of cruelty and started to be used much as recreational entertainment.
Starting from social sports of medieval times where games were often struck by tragic deaths of participants, there are many ancient records which claim participant’s deaths during an ongoing event of any sport. Here we present you the list of unfortunate Athletes Who Died On The Field.
6. Chuck Hughes
American football wide receiver Chuck Hughes played for Philadelphia Eagles from 1967 to 1969. He then played for Detroit Lions from 1970 to 1971 in the National Football League. Hughes is the only NFL player to die on the field during a game to date.
Hughes suffered a fatal heart attack during the final minutes of a match while playing for the Detroit Lions against the Chicago Bears at Tiger Stadium in Detroit on October 24, 1971. He collapsed on the Chicago Bears’ 15-yard line while jogging back to the huddle. To honour his contribution towards the achievements of the club at the NBA, Detroit Lions retired his number 85.
5. Reggie Lewis
American professional basketball player Reggie Lewis played as a Small forward for the Boston Celtics in the NBA from 1987 to 1993. He was drafted in the first round as 22nd overall in the 1987 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics.
Lewis was named America East Conference Player of the Year three times and became the NBA All-Star in 1992. After he achieved the 20.8 average points per game in each of his last two seasons with the Celtics, he suffered sudden cardiac death on the basketball court on 27th July 1993 at an off-season practice at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.
After the tragic death of Lewis, his Number 35 jersey was retired by the Boston Celtics and also by the Northeastern. And now, this death deserves its mention among the athletes who died on the field.
4. Bill Masterton
Canadian–American professional ice hockey centre Bill Masterton is the only player to die as a direct result of injuries during a game in NHL history. He played for the Minnesota North Stars in the National Hockey League in 1967–68 season. He faced a severe internal brain injury on the game against the Oakland Seals at the Met Center. Bill died during the first period of Minnesota on January 13, 1968.
The impact from the collision with Larry Cahan and Ron Harris caused Masterton to bleed from his nose, ears and mouth. He received emergency medical treatment in the dressing room. And then, rushed to Fairview-Southdale Hospital but died without ever regaining consciousness. He died on January 15, some 30 hours after his tragic sports accident.
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3. Marc Vivien Foe
Cameroonian international footballer Marc Vivien Foe played 64 international matches as a midfielder for the Cameroon national football team. He also played for famous clubs such as West Ham United, Olympique Lyonnais and also at Manchester City on loan. Vivien scored 8 goals during international appearances and scored 24 goals in his 201 club match appearances. This football superstar died at the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup where Cameroon faced Colombia in the semi-final at the Stade de Gerland in Lyon, France on 26 June 2003.
Marc collapsed in the centre circle and died during the 72nd minute of the game due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. As a tribute, Manchester City retired his number 23 shirt and Lyon also retired his number 17 jersey. His death now deserves its mention among the athletes who died on the field.
2. Dale Earnhardt
American race car driver and team owner Dale Earnhardt is considered one of the best NASCAR drivers of all time. He was nicknamed “The Intimidator” for his aggressive driving style. He won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 76 times and was placed in Top10 428 times. Dale also won the NASCAR Nationwide Series 21 times and was placed in Top10, 75 times.
Earnhardt was involved in a tragic last-lap crash while driving in the 2001 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. He died on 18th February 2001 because of basilar skull fracture.
1. Ayrton Senna
Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna is considered one of the greatest drivers in the history of F1. He is the third most successful race car driver of all time in terms of race wins. Senna had 41 wins, 80 podiums, and 3 championship titles under his belt. He holds a record of six titles at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Senna died during his final race at the San Marino Grand Prix. That was organized between Thursday, 28 April and Sunday, 1 May 1994. It was hosted at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit in Imola, Italy. He met with a tragic accident on lap 7 where he ran in a straight line off the track. Senna hit the concrete wall at 233 kilometres per hour.
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