There was a LOT going on during Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-3 win at Newcastle United today, but the most important thing had nothing to do with the final score. The match was halted seven minutes before the end of the first half due to a medical emergency in the stands.
Newcastle players in the area where the emergency took place drew the attention of several Tottenham players on the pitch nearby and asked them to alert the match official, Andre Marriner. Sergio Reguilon ran over to Marriner and pleaded with him to temporarily halt the match, gesturing to the fan section. Marriner, to his credit, swiftly agreed.
Meanwhile, Eric Dier sprinted to the sideline to find a physio with a defibrillator who could run over to make sure that it was an option for the ailing fan if needed. Both teams retreated to the locker rooms while medical professionals worked on the ailing person who was eventually transported to the hospital. Play resumed for the end of the first half after a 10 minute break.
Afterwards, Reguilon and Harry Kane recounted what happened in a post-game interview with Sky Sports, with Reggie in particular showing a great deal of concern for the condition of the fan.
“I saw one man lying down and another [giving chest compressions]. I was very nervous. I went to the referee and said ‘Look at this, we cannot play with this, you have to stop the match.’
“The referee, a very nice man saw it, and stopped the match. Now, I think it’s okay, right? The guy’s okay? That’s more important than anything.”
Tottenham and Spurs players are unfortunately no strangers to the unusual circumstance of a medical emergency on the pitch. Those of us who are of an age will no doubt recall the match against Bolton 9 1⁄2 years ago which nearly claimed the life of Fabrice Muamba in the FA Cup quarterfinal. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg also watched his Denmark teammate and former Spurs player Christian Eriksen suffer a cardiac incident on the pitch during last summer’s EUROs. It is terrifying when these things happen, which is why swift, decisive action is so critical.
Obviously the health of the players and those in attendance is far, FAR more important than anything that happens during the match. It was quick thinking by Reguilon and Dier in both cases, and that swift action no doubt contributed to the fan’s life being saved.
And saved it was — the latest info states that the fan is doing as well as can be expected while in the hospital.