European Football Championship: Varga accident brings back terrible memories

European Football Championship: Varga accident brings back terrible memories

European Football Championship Varga accident brings back terrible memories

The Hungarian players hold a screen while striker Barnabas Varga is treated. Photo

© Antonio Calanni/AP

Hungary’s striker Varga lies seriously injured on the ground. Players and fans react with shock, the professionals believe the paramedics are too slow. Adjustments to the protocol are being demanded.

Barnabás Varga lies almost motionless in the penalty area, breathing heavily, his fingers twitching. Hungary’s captain Dominik Szoboszlai immediately recognizes the seriousness of the situation and frantically tries to call the doctors. These are a few moments that feel like an eternity in the Stuttgart Arena and bring back terrible memories.

At the European Football Championship three years ago, Danish midfield star Christian Eriksen fought for his life after suffering a cardiac arrest on the field – millions of fans watched on TV, several thousand in the stadium. Even on Sunday evening, as doctors were still caring for the Hungarian on the field, many people were thinking about the Eriksen incident.

Unlike the Dane, who is now back on the field, Varga fell to the ground after an unfortunate collision with Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn. Szoboszlai was the first to reach his teammate, who had suffered serious facial injuries, and was dissatisfied with the paramedics’ intervention after the final whistle. “I don’t know how the procedures work. But if our doctor says he needs help, then it has to happen quickly. Seconds can make a big difference in a situation like this,” said the Liverpool professional about the dramatic situation. UEFA responded that there were no delays in the rescue process.

According to the circumstances well

According to the Hungarian delegation on Monday, Varga suffered several facial fractures and a concussion. Surgery was carried out on Monday, his father András Varga confirmed to the Hungarian sports daily “Nemzeti Sport”. According to his girlfriend Laura, Varga is doing well considering the circumstances after the operation, as she told Hungarian media.

“It’s impossible to describe what we felt, the whole thing was a nightmare, I don’t even want to talk about it,” said Vargas’ partner. The 29-year-old is expected to leave the clinic on Wednesday, his team said.

The footballer was in a stable condition that night. The shock of what had happened was still deep. The 1-0 goal, scored very late, faded into the background. The Hungarians dedicated the last-minute victory, which could have been enough to advance to the round of 16 in the tournament, to their seriously injured teammate.

“Many thought he was unconscious”

Several minutes after the incident, Varga was taken from the stadium to a hospital in Stuttgart wearing a neck brace and with spectators watching and applauding him. “Many people thought he was unconscious. He was no longer himself,” explained coach Marco Rossi. “That’s why everyone was worried.”

This was especially true for Szoboszlai, who said it took too long for the helpers to get to Varga. He called for adjustments to the protocol. “It has to go much faster,” said the 23-year-old about the hesitant intervention of the rescue workers, who did not rush onto the pitch straight away. “It’s not my decision, but we have to change something.” Willi Orbán of RB Leipzig also said: “I think that communication and implementation could go faster.”

UEFA, meanwhile, did not detect any wrongdoing. “The coordination between all the medical staff on site was professional, everything was done in accordance with the applicable medical procedures. There was no delay in the treatment and care of the player,” the association said on Monday in response to a query from the German Press Agency.

Latest European Championship winning goal in regular time

“It was terrible, a cruel moment,” said Roland Sallai of SC Freiburg, who set up the latest winning goal in regular time at a European Championship by Kevin Csoboth (90th +10). As third in the group, the Hungarians still have a chance of making it to the round of 16. “We fought for him, wanted to win for him,” said Sallai about Varga.

After the final whistle, he and his teammates posed for the photographers wearing Vargas’ number 19 jersey. In their thoughts, Sallai, Szoboszlai and Co. were with their teammate in the hospital.




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