A 25-year-old Belgian soccer goalie died after collapsing on the field Saturday moments after stopping a penalty kick.
Arne Espeel of Winkel Sport B collapsed during a match against Westrozebeke, according to the U.K. Daily Mirror.
Espeel collapsed immediately after stopping the kick, which had been awarded early in the second half of the match in Sint-Eloois-Winkel, a village in the Belgian province of West Flanders.
First responders rushed onto the field and used a defibrillator to try to revive him, the Daily Mirror reported.
Espeel was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
This weekend, Arne Espeel (25) had just saved a penalty and then shortly after he collapsed and passed away. He died doing what he loved. Every day can be your last so try to enjoy life while you can. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/00RkDGbjJ6
— 𝙇𝙚ø𝙜𝙖𝙖𝙧𝙙 🇧🇪 (@afcthms) February 13, 2023
“The ball was still in play. Our goalkeeper got up as fast as possible to receive the ball, but then he fell. It was really terrible to watch,” Winkel Sport B assistant Stefaan Dewerchin said, according to the Daily Mirror.
“When the message came that our goalkeeper was dead, it was an unusually heavy blow. I think some players still don’t realize exactly what happened,” he said.
No cause of death has been issued.
“Winkel Sport is in very deep mourning at the sudden passing of goalkeeper Arne Espeel. We wish Arne’s family and friends our heartfelt condolences at this heavy loss. Football is taking a back seat for some time,” the soccer club said in a statement, according to the Daily Mirror.
The New Norm – Arne Espeel, A 25-year-old goalkeeper died suddenly during a football match in West Flanders, Belgium on Saturday evening. According to a local news outlet VRT, the young goalkeeper of Sint-Eloois-Winkel stopped the penalty kick, but he then collapsed. pic.twitter.com/p3Vxj67KD5
— Lisa Marie (@Lisamarie1577) February 12, 2023
“It’s a tragedy and a shock to us. Arne had been with the club his whole life, and he was dearly loved. It’s a really hard blow,” sports director Patrick Rotsaert said told the Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, according to the Daily Mirror.
According to the U.K. Daily Star, the Winkel Sport B club’s statement also said, “Arne has played for us since he was a kid, and everybody really liked him.“
“It’s impossible to understand how something like this could happen to someone so young. He had been a completely healthy young lad before,” the statement said.
The Sun noted that the tragedy took place as Espeel’s parents were watching while his brother Aaron was on the Winkel bench.
The game was canceled.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.