Tragedy was averted on the Nigerian sporting scene on Sunday after a local league footballer slumped on the pitch of play.
The incident happened to a Warri Wolves attacker identified as Stanley. His team were playing away to Plateau United in Jos.
Stanley had a head-on collision with another player and slumped, forcing the referee to halt the game and allow Nigerian Red Cross volunteers intervene.
The incident came days after Danish footballer Christian Eriksen collapsed during a EURO 2020 game, with in-stadium medics quickly stepping up to save his life.
The Nigerian crowd that had been enjoying the NPFL game with thunderous banters, boos and taunts suddenly went silent as medics carried Stanley’s seemingly lifeless body from the pitch onto an ambulance with minutes left to play in the first half.
“They must have feared the worse because everyone was scared,” Nurudeen Magaji, lead trainer of the Red Cross first aid team at the venue, told The Realm News on Monday.
Apprehension later morphed into a standing ovation for the Nigerian medics who brought Stanley “back to life” and returned him to the arena before the referee blew the final whistle. The fans who filled the new Jos stadium were visibly grateful to Magaji’s team for rising to the occasion like their European counterparts.
“When the fans saw what we were able to do, they stood up for a long period of time and kept clapping for our team,” Magaji said.
“Stanley was unconscious after the collision. He also was not breathing,” he said. “Our first aid volunteers were the ones who resuscitated him with CPR”.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (or CPR) is an emergency procedure that combines chest compressions often with artificial ventilation in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person who is in cardiac arrest, Wikipedia authors say.
“It was like a movie with everyone in the stands holding their heads in theirs hands,” Magaji continued.
“After he regained consciousness and we brought him back to the stadium, the spectators clapped for our crew. They gave us a standing ovation.
“We were careful with Stanley. We took him to a hospital for further observation and a doctor cleared him before we took him back to the stadium,” Magaji said.
Warri Wolves lost the game 0-2 to their hosts but thanks to the Nigerian medics, they did not lose their man to the cold hands of death.
Meanwhile, first aid trainer Dare Akinfosile told The Realm News he was surprised that news of the heroics was not reported by large sections of the Nigerian media.
“Unlike Eriksen’s case, our heroic feats often don’t get mentioned,” Akinfosile said on Monday.
“I searched the internet and there was no mention of it. Perhaps if the player died, it would have been in the news that there was no medical cover for the league game.
“A big thank you to those who responded and saved the life of the player,” Akinfosile said.