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10 Sports Persons Who Lost Their Life In Action

The recent death of a national wrestler, 22 year old Vishal Kumar Verma, after being electrocuted in Jharkhand State Wrestling Association office, at the dilapidated Jaipal Singh Stadium on Tuesday afternoon has once again brought to light the vulnerability of a person’s life.

A loose wire hanging in the washroom, flooded with water was believed to be the reason behind Vishal’s death.

“Preliminary investigation has revealed that death was due to electrocution. Vishal was using a water pump to clear out the water when the incident took place. Faulty wiring seems to be the main cause for this incident,” Shyamanand Mandal, an officer of the Kotwali police station quoted as saying to a leading newspaper.

It was indeed a freak and unfortunate incident to take away the life of a young talent, whose untimely death has put an end to a potentially great career. This is not the first time when a sportsperson’s career has come to an abrupt end. There have been numerous instances from sports fraternity when players have collapsed on field, succumbed to injuries, suffered concussion, all leading to the ultimate truth of life, death. Now we look back at 10 such incidents when players had lost their lives while they were on the field of play.

Ayrton Senna

Ayrton Senna

Regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers, a national icon in Brazil, died after a tragic incident at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

The shocking thing about this incident was that his death occurred only a day after Australian racer Roland Ratzernberger had forced the Formula One committe to improve safety regulations.

Jimmy Doyle

Jimmy Doyle

In 1947, James Emerson Delaney, professionally recognized as Jimmy Doyle, died while fighting Sugar Ray Robinson, widely regarded as one of the finest boxers of all time. Just before the bout, Sugar Ray had backed out of the fight as he had a dream, in which he accidentally killed Jimmy Doyle. He was convinced to fight but unfortunately his dream had come true. Doyle fell unconscious when he was knocked out in the 8th round and died later.

Wasim Raja

Wasim Raja

Wasim Hasan Raja, former Pakistani cricketer who played in 57 tests and 54 ODIs, died of a major heart attack while being on the field. He had complained of dizziness to the slip fielders and thought of going off the field. Unfortunately, while he was getting carried off, collapsed on the boundary.

Wasim played 57 Tests between 1973 and 1985, scoring 2821 runs at 36.16 with four hundreds, the best of which was 125. He also took 51 wickets at 35.80 with a best of 4 for 50. Both his career-best performances came against India at Jalandhar in 1983-84. He also played 54 ODIs. He was subsequently a match referee in 15 Tests, the last of which was in 2003-04.

Raman Lamba

Raman Lamba

Raman Lamba was an Indian cricketer, who played in 4 Tests and 32 ODIs, mainly as batsman. He had aggressive style of play, though his technique was a little bit suspect, whose career had promised a lot but never really flourished. He had gained popularity Bangladesh’s Dhaka Premier League and also represented Ireland in unofficial ODIs.

On February 20, 1998, Lamba was fielding for Abahani Krira Chakra against Mohammedan Sporting in Dhaka’s Premier League at the Bangabandhu Stadium when he was summoned from the outfield to go to short leg for the last three balls. Khaled Mashud asked him if he wanted a helmet, to which Lamba refused.

As destiny would have it, Mehrab Hossain pulled a short delivery from Saifullah Khan, which hit Lamba on the forehead with such force that it had rebounded beyond wicket-keeper Khaled Mashud, who had to backpedal to take the catch. Ramba Lamba initially felt as if everything was fine, until he told his mates that he was not feeling well, thus got rushed to the hospital. By the time he got there, he had already lost consciousness and after suffering convulsions, the surgeons operated to remove a blood clot from the left side of his brain. A specialist had flown in from Delhi but to no avail. Right upfront he had said that it was hopeless case.

Three days after the family’s approval, the life support was turned off. So, on 23rd February, 1998, Raman Lamba breathed his last.Raman Lamba Fielding At Silly Point

Phillip Hughes

Phillip Hughes

When talks of cricketers losing their lives while playing, crop up, tragedy of one player would always be at the top of our minds. The player is none other than, former Australian cricketer, 25 year old Phillip Hughes, who lost his life, after he was knocked by a bouncer, leading to unconsciousness followed by death.

On 25th November 2014, days before his 26th birthday, while playing a Sheffield Shield match for South Australia, a bouncer from New South Wales bowler, Sean Abbott was misjudged by Hughes, while trying to play a hook shot, got struck in the neck by the ball. Hughes had his helmet on but the ball struck an unprotected area just below his left ear. He had undergone a surgery and was placed into an induced coma. Hughes’ injury was a rare but described type of sport-related blunt-force cerebrovascular injury called a vertebral artery dissection which led to subarachnoid haemorrhage. On the morning of 27 November 2014, Hughes died from his injuries, three days before his 26th birthday.

Owen Hart

Owen Hart

Numerous professional wrestlers have died, while competing in this so-called fake sport. The most shocking wrestling event death occurred during the pre-fight build-up. In May, 1999, Hart was on the card as the Blue Blazer for a pay-per-view wrestling event in Kansas City.

Hart was poised to descend into the ring from above but his shackle accidentally got released from his wire and he plummeted 80 feet to the top rope. Blunt force trauma was said to be the cause of his death.

Ray Chapman

Ray Chapman

Ray Chapman, an American baseball player died as a result of injuries received during a basketball game. It was a match between the Naps and the Yankees in the year 1920, when Yankee’s pitcher Carl Mays had thrown the ball and it hit Chapman on the head. The loud sound led to the fans mistaking it as the ball hitting the bat.
He died twelve hours later in the hospital.

Wilfred Slack

Wilfred Slack

Wilfred Norris Slack, former English cricketer , started blacking out frequently while on the field or in the nets. Eventually he died at the age of 34 after getting collapsed during a game in The Gambia on 15th January, 1989.

Ian Folley

Ian Folley

The right-handed batsman and a left-arm bowler from England died due to heart attack, which he suffered while undergoing treatment after being hit below the eye. It was actually the result of a mishap in the hospital and he expired under the effect of anesthesia.

Becky Zerlentes

Becky Zerlentes

Becky Zerlentes is the first female boxer to have died in the ring. The 34 year old college teacher was competing in a Golden Gloves fight in Denver in 2005, when she got hit by a punch in the head from Heather Schmitz. The former regional Golden Gloves Champion, Zerlentes fell to the mat and never regained consciousness.

Subhojit Chakraborty, an MBA in Marketing, is a writer by choice. His passion towards writing cricket articles and giving in-depth analysis of matches is testimony to the love he has developed for the game. Apart from cricket he follows other major sporting events like Wimbledon in Tennis, FIFA World Cup, Euro Cup. He is a connoisseur of good food and always on the lookout for trying out delicacies. He spends his leisure time primarily by listening to good music, reading inspirational stories and watching movies.

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