Raphael Dwamena and Ghanaian players who collapsed on the pitch and died

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Following the death of striker Raphael Dwamena, we bring to you a list of Ghanaian football stars who died after collapsing on the pitch. While the country has lost several stars through various means including the recent tragic passing of Christian Atsu, others died while on duty doing what they love. The list includes former Hearts of Oak greats Shamo Quaye and Uriah Asante.

Shamo Quaye

Born in Tema in 1971, Shamo Quaye died in 1997 at the age of 26 while playing football. His death actually occurred two days after the on-pitch incident but he is added to this list because the whole thing started from the pitch. The former Hearts of Oak star who was playing with Umea FC in Sweden at the time was in Ghana. During a training match, he was hit in the face with the ball and he collapsed. He was rushed to the hospital and reported dead two days later. He played for Hearts of Oak twice; between 1989 to 1993 and then again from 1995 to 1996 following a three-year spell at Al-Qadisiyah in the Saudi League. He made 41 appearances for the Black Stars and won bronze with the Olympic team in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

Bartholomew Opoku

The youngest in this list, Bartholomew Opoku died in 2010 after collapsing in a match against Liberty Professionals. Opoku was playing for Kessben FC at the time of his death. The incident occurred in March 2010 and left the club in shock. Fred Acheampong, the spokesperson for Kessben FC expressed the club’s shock, saying, “It’s a massive tragedy and the whole club is in shock. There was no hint he was unwell”. Opoku’s death came barely three days after Nigerian U-23 international Endurance Idahor died in Sudan after collapsing during a match against Al Amal. Idahor was in the books of Al Merreikh.

Uriah Asante

Another Hearts of Oaj star appearing in the list is Uriah Asante. The former Hearts of Oak midfielder died in 2016 after collapsing on the pitch during training. He was with the Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel at the time of his passing. He played for Hearts of Oak on loan from Pure Joy FC.

Raphael Dwamena

Raphael Dwamena becomes the latest to join the unfortunate list after he died while playing for KF Egnatia in the Albania Super League. He collapsed in the 23rd minute of the game and was immediately rushed to the hospital but died on his way. He had previous heart complications and had previously collapsed on the pitch while playing in Austria for Blau-Weiss Linz against Harterg in October 2021.

What has been done so far to prevent these incidents?

FIFA and other regional football governing bodies have stepped up efforts to prevent some of these things. Some of the measures include strict health examination of players. Since 2009, FIFA pre-competition medical reports required family history, heart rhythm, sounds, and electrocardiogram (ECG) results to be added. In Europe, UEFA since the 2011-12 season required thorough medical examinations including ECG and echocardiogram.

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