Soccer star brought back from brink of death after collapsing on field
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Soccer star brought back from brink of death after collapsing on field

Hapoel Beersheba captain Elyaniv Barda hit in the chest with ball, interrupting heart rhythm; paramedics resuscitate him on the grass with electric shocks

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Hapoel Beersheba captain Elyaniv Barda, second from left, together with other members of the soccer team, celebrating after winning at the Israeli soccer league championship at the Turner Stadium in Beersheba, May 8, 2017. (Roy Alima/Flash90)
Hapoel Beersheba captain Elyaniv Barda, second from left, together with other members of the soccer team, celebrating after winning at the Israeli soccer league championship at the Turner Stadium in Beersheba, May 8, 2017. (Roy Alima/Flash90)

A soccer star collapsed and went into cardiac arrest after being hit in the chest by a ball on Tuesday, but was saved by the team masseur and an ambulance crew who happened to be in the area at the time and administered electric shocks to restart his heart.

Elyaniv Barda, 35, who is captain of the Hapoel Beersheba national champion soccer team, lost consciousness after being hit in the chest by a fast-moving ball, the club said.

He was taken by ambulance to Soroka Medical Center. The soccer club later reported that he was recovering in a good condition after having undergone a series of medical tests.

Hadashot news (formerly Channel 2) reported that those present said the player sat on the grass and told team mates he was feeling chilly. He then turned pale and fainted.

The team masseur, Dimitri Traschinko, attempted to keep him breathing and administered cardiac massage. Fortunately, a Magen David Adom ambulance happened to be in the area and was quickly able to respond to the emergency. The paramedics resorted to giving Barda four electric shocks and with the fourth jolt he regained consciousness. He was then taken to the hospital for further treatment.

A source in the club told Hadashot that those watching feared the worst.

“We watched his death,” the source said. “It was a shocking sight. If the MDA ambulance hadn’t arrived in such a short time I don’t think he would be with us.”

Soroka Hospital said in a statement that “In order to rule out any concern, the hospital’s medical team decided to perform another diagnosis by means of diagnostic catheterization, which confirmed that Barda’s condition was fine.”

Team owner Alona Barkat tweeted of her relief at her player’s recovery.

“We experience moments of true terror today,” she wrote. “It was a great relief and [we gave] a sigh of relief when we were told that everything was okay with Elyaniv.”

A photo of Barda, smiling in his hospital bed, was circulated on social media.

Doron Zager, chief of cardiology at Soroka said such an occurrence was very rare.

“The impact caused severe disturbances in the rhythm of the heart,” he said. “This is a very rare sports injury, but it is known that when a ball hits the chest at a very high speed at a critical moment in the heart cycle it can cause disturbances in the rhythm and endanger life. He was saved by the quick, appropriate, and efficient action of the teams at the scene, the club medic, and afterwards the MDA team that arrived.”

Zager noted that Barda is being monitored in intensive care and that he was expected to be released in the coming days.

Walla reported that Culture and Sports Ministery Miri Regev spoke by telephone with Barda’s wife, Edva, and wished him a speedy recovery.

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