Evan Ndicka collapsed

Ndicka’s tumble brings back memories, but quick action shows growth

It was natural to dread the worst when Evan Ndicka collapsed. Despite having no opponents nearby, the Roma defender bent over and collapsed with a hand on his chest. Twelve years to the day after Piermario Morosini died in a Serie B match from cardiac arrest, the fear of a repetition was great.

Daniele De Rossi

Daniele De Rossi was one among the first to see and call for help. Roma goalkeeper Mile Svilar and Udinese attacker Lorenzo Lucca arrived first and confirmed that Ndicka needed immediate treatment. Others called for crowd calm, and Bluenergy Stadium fans obeyed.

An unused defibrillator was brought on. Ndicka offered a thumbs-up as he was carried off on a stretcher, a hopeful sign, but nobody knew what caused his collapse or if the danger was over. While De Rossi followed Ndicka into the locker room, referee Luca Pairetto paused the game.

Roma goalkeeper Mile Svilar

The Roma manager returned and spoke with Gabriele Cioffi and Pairetto. The game had been stopped after about 10 minutes, and all sides agreed to honor Ndicka’s teammates’ pleas for a restart. De Rossi’s players said they weren’t ready to continue.

The game’s suspension was met with respect by fans. Livorno’s 2012 match against Pescara was interrupted after Morosini fell, prompting jeers before fans learned he had died. Italian football was forever changed by his death, although more high-profile cases have occurred afterward, like Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest at Euro 2020 for Denmark.

Roma manager returned and spoke with Gabriele Cioffi and Pairetto

Ndicka appears to have had a different ailment. After inconclusive stadium tests, Ndicka was sent to Santa Maria della Misericordia University Hospital, where medical doctors confirmed that he did not have a heart attack on Sunday night.

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No official diagnosis has been released. On Monday, La Gazzetta dello Sport claimed that Ndicka’s chest pain was “more probable” due to pulmonary problems. Before his fall, Lucca had given him a powerful elbow to the chest late in the first half and he had two less serious tussles with opponents.

Most crucial is his full recovery. Roma posted a photo of Ndicka flexing in his hospital bed on Sunday night. “Evan is feeling better and is in good spirits,” the club posted on social media, revealing that teammates visited him. “He will stay in the hospital for more tests. Forza Evan!

Sunday’s match’s completion time is unknown. After Roberto Pereyra put Udinese ahead in the first half, Romelu Lukaku equalized midway through the second.

Roberto Pereyra

Instead of replaying, the game will resume from the 78th minute, when it was halted. Managers are not required to utilize the same 11 players who were on the pitch at the time of the interruption (injuries could happen), but they can only call on players who were eligible to play on Sunday and cannot use anyone who had been substituted.

Unless either side is in a midweek round, Serie A rules require a suspended game to be completed the following day. Roma traveled back to the city on Sunday night before their Europa League quarterfinal against Milan on Thursday. They may schedule the final part of their game with Udinese if they reach the semis.

Palmese and Manfredonia

These occurrences have shown that some restrictions are unclear. Palmese and Manfredonia were penalized with a loss and a point for stopping their match after a spectator became extremely unwell in the grandstand earlier this month.

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This circumstance seems safe from such judgments. The medical team’s quick response and everyone’s willingness to stop the game were positives for those who remember Morosini’s death, when stadium workers had to struggle to push away a car blocking the ambulance’s path to the pitch.

Ndicka under José Mourinho

Roma and Udinese have key goals left this season. Giallorossi are fifth in the table and chasing Champions League qualification the traditional way and Europa League victory. Udinese, 15th and one point above the relegation zone, were headed for a critical draw.

Some things matter more. After winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast in February and joining Roma last summer, Ndicka has been a regular starter under José Mourinho and now De Rossi. The most joyous moment for many who have watched him was seeing him sitting up and smiling in bed on Sunday night.

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