Russian football is mourning the loss of 23-year-old goalkeeper Alexander Shishmarev, who died after colliding with an opposition player during a friendly match against a rival team from the Kaliningrad region.
Shishmarev suffered the fatal incident as he appeared for ‘Krasnaya Zvezda’ from the town of Sovetsk in Kaliningrad Oblast against regional rivals ‘Baltika-M’ on Saturday.
“It’s a terrible tragedy for all of us,” said Alexander Gvardis, the head of the local football federation, of the incident which happened at the ‘Baltika’ stadium.
“Shishmarev went out for the ball and collided with a ‘Baltika’ player, as a result of which he fell.
“According to preliminary data, his tongue fell backwards, he suffocated. It was definitely not a head injury.
“An ambulance arrived at the field within 15-25 minutes after the call. Condolences to the family and friends of the player. A terrible thing happened today.”
Футболист скончался во время матча в Калининграде. Вратарь Александр Шишмарев играл за любительскую команду на стадионе «Балтика». Смерть произошла из-за того, что в Александра на скорости влетел соперник и ударил в область шеи. У парня запал язык. pic.twitter.com/619fIslXaT
— ФедералПресс (@FederalPress) August 29, 2021
The head of the press service for ‘Baltika’, Sergey Kandalov, likewise described the collision which led to the tragedy.
“Alexander received a blow around the neck from an opponent who flew into him at speed,” he told Sport-Express.
“The match was attended by our doctors, some of the best in the region.
“They quickly entered the field but couldn’t do anything. The ambulance doctors tried to help for an hour, but unfortunately he died in the ambulance.”
Kandalov added that there was a state of “shock” at the incident, and that figures connected with the club and local football would offer help – including financial – to Shishmarev’s family.
The local authorities also said an investigation into the tragedy had been set up.
The Russian men’s national team was among those to pay its respects to Shishmarev, tweeting a message to the late footballer’s family and friends.
Сегодня во время тренировочного матча «Балтика-М» – «Красная Звезда» вратарь команды из Советска Александр Шишмарев получил смертельную травму. Врачи клуба и скорой помощи больше часа оказывали помощь, но спасти жизнь не удалось.Искренне соболезнуем родным и близким. pic.twitter.com/7Xpv2cPJ8B
— Сборная России (@TeamRussia) August 28, 2021