Arne Espeel, a 25-year-old Belgian goalkeeper, has died following him collapsing on the pitch Feb. 11 just shortly after getting a penalty save for his team.
Playing in the second provincial division of Belgium’s West Brabant, Winkel Sport B held a 2-1 lead over Westrozebeke when their opposition was given a second-half penalty.
Espeel ended up saving the spot kick, however, he collapsed after the fact, according to multiple reports in Belgian media. Emergency services rushed to the scene to assist Espeel and attempted to revive him with a defibrillator, but he was pronounced dead after being transported to the hospital.
The game took place at the team’s home ground in Sint-Ellois-Winkel, which is located in the West Flanders Province.
Belgian goalkeeper Arne Espeel died after he collapsed on the pitch on Saturday moments after saving a penalty for his team. He was 25. https://t.co/ysOwm1qPCl
— ESPN (@espn) February 14, 2023
“Winkel Sport is in very deep mourning by the sudden death of Arne Espeel,” said the club in an official statement. “We wish family and friends of Arne our heartfelt condolences in this heavy loss. Football is an afterthought.”
An autopsy took place Feb. 13 to determine the cause of Espeel’s death, but the results have yet to be announced. (RELATED: Michigan State University Cancels Sports Events After Shooting That Left Four Dead, Five Wounded)
“This is a disaster and a shock to everyone,” said Winkel sporting director Patrick Rotsaert, according to Nieuwsblad. “Arne had been with the club all his life and was very loved. He was a wonderfully sympathetic boy, always in a good mood and ready to help. This is really a heavy blow. First of all for his family and also our whole club.”