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Royal Antwerp teenager dies after cardiac arrest

Joel Lobanzo, a 17-year-old footballer for Belgian club Royal Antwerp, has died after suffering a heart attack in training. The club have offered counselling to players and staff that witnessed the incident.

Royal Antwerp teenager Joel Lobanzo has died at the age of 17 following a cardiac arrest during a training session, the Belgian club said on Thursday.

Medical personnel and coaches present during Tuesday’s under-19 training session attempted to resuscitate the player at the scene before transferring him to a hospital, the club said in a statement on their website.

Lobanzo remained in a critical condition for more than a day before he died, the club added. Antwerp said they have been counseling players and staff who witnessed the incident.

“We discovered this terrible news that Joel Lobanzo, a 17-year-old youth player from RAFC, died last night,” the club said in a statement. “The young football player had become a victim of sudden cardiac arrest during the training of the U19s on Tuesday night.

“The medical supervisor and trainers who were in the vicinity of the player immediately started resuscitation, after which the MUG team transferred the player to the UZA in critical condition.

“The young man remained in critical condition for more than one day, but sadly died during the night from Wednesday to Thursday.”

The statement said the club “strongly urge the media not to bother the family and friends” and added: “A time of mourning breaks, which we want to spend in serenity. We convey our deepest feelings of compassion to Joel’s family and friends.”

This is not the first time a footballer has suffered a heart attack during a game or training session. Cameroon player Marc-Vivien Foe died during a game against France in 2003 and earlier this year the Ivorian star Cheick Tiote collapsed during a training session in China.

mds/jh (Reuters)

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