Football Game Cancelled as Air Ambulance Lands on Pitch After Man Falls Ill

Tom Ozimek
By Tom Ozimek
September 23, 2018Worldshare

A football match in England was called off on when a volunteer went into cardiac arrest and had to be airlifted by a helicopter.

Fans captured footage of the air ambulance as it came in for a landing on the field on Sept. 22 at the Oakwell Stadium in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England.

The game between Barnsley and Burton Albion, two British football teams, had been due to kick off at 3 p.m., but was cancelled.

Nigel Clough, manager for Burton Albion, said, “when it was announced the game was called off all the crowd were applauding respectfully as they realize it’s the right decision.”

The volunteer Stephen Croft suffered a heart attack prior to kick-off and emergency medical services were called in. Air ambulance crew members loaded Croft onto a stretcher and transported him to Sheffield Northern General Hospital.

Croft’s family issued a statement.

“The family would like to thank both sets of fans for their dignity and understanding. This sort of incident brings out the best in people and that can be seen today in the stands and on the pitch at Oakwell. They are a credit to both teams.

“The family are humbled by the messages of support already received.

“It goes without saying we can all be proud of our ambulance services including the air ambulance, who we all couldn’t thank enough.

“Stephen remains in a serious condition.”

helicopter lands on the field of a stadium
An air ambulance descends onto Oakwell stadium in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England, Sept. 22, 2018. (Danny Stewart via Storyful)

“First and foremost everyone at Burton Albion hopes the gentleman is OK and, in the scheme of it, football doesn’t matter,” Clough said.

“We also think it was definitely the right decision to call off the game. Our players were not in the right mental condition to play the match. When you go out at five to three and everyone’s buzzing and right for the game and then something like this happens right where our players were doing their little bit of warm up, they come in and naturally several were distressed.

“It was our lads who spotted what happened and who called the medical people over. They were right in front of it as were our supporters.

“The referee and linesmen have all been brilliant about it and it’s the right thing to do.”

A video showed the fluorescent helicopter descending onto the pitch as fans clapped and cheered.

air ambulance lands
An air ambulance lands at Oakwell stadium in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England, Sept. 22, 2018. (Danny Stewart via Storyful)

“It became apparent very quickly that the incident was of a serious nature,” Barnsley safety officer Steve Bailey said, according to The Metro.

“This required a quick response from all medical staff inside Oakwell at the time. We don’t want to comment on the incident until we have further details.

“What we do want to say is that everyone connected to both clubs have acted in an impeccable manner, showing the community spirit and togetherness that was required, as well as showing understanding as to why the game was postponed.

“Football does not matter in a situation like this. We all send our best wishes to the gentleman and his family,” said Bailey.

The football club also expressed their gratitude to the Yorkshire Ambulance Service and the medical staff on site for their “swift response.”

Barnsley’s Chief executive Gauthier Ganaye said, according to The Metro, “All of the medical staff inside of Oakwell along with Steve (Bailey) and his team responded superbly to a serious incident.

“All of us remain concerned and send our best wishes to the gentleman involved, along with his family.

“We would like to especially thank the fast response of Yorkshire Ambulance and their staff. ‘The importance of knowing important medical technique has been seen today and we will continue to raise awareness on this topic.”

The club also said that tickets for the game would be valid for the rescheduled venue or could be refunded.

Video credit: Danny Stewart via Storyful

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