The death of a footballer is always a shock, not just because these men are in the public sphere but because they are the embodiment of fitness and health. To be a professional footballer you need to be fit, healthy and for the majority of players, young. You may have players in mind who do not fit this ideal of athletic prowess but they are professional footballers none the less.
When the suicide of Gary Speed was announced there wasn’t a person who loves football that wasn’t shocked. He was a successful young manager with a growing international pedigree. His inner demons however, took over and he left family, friends and fans alike baffled and grieving for him.
Some players are victims of circumstance and the age they lived. Medically they may have lived if science and progress had been on their side. Others players died in tragic accidents.
There are cases like Jimmy Thorpe, a former Sunderland goalkeeper, whose death changed the rules of the game, or Hernan Gaviria & Giovanni Cordoba who were both struck by lightning during a training session or more recently Youseef Sleiman who was killed during training by a mortar shell in Syria.
These are stories worth telling.
FIFA and the world Football Associations do not keep records of player deaths and this is the reason I ventured into this macabre subject.
I have set up a website that concentrates on those players who have lost their lives whilst playing football or as a consequence of their illness, injuries or performance on the pitch. In essence this website is dedicated to those who have died whilst in service of the beautiful but sometimes deadly game.
This site aims to record the details accurately and with sensitivity, especially for those players whose families are still grieving. This is an ongoing project where players will be added to the archive when the stories have been fully researched.
With contributions from talented contributors from around the world we want to commemorate these players through their tragic stories and through partnerships with organisations. We also want to raise awareness of health issues that can affect footballers and the fans reading these pages.
Click here to read these amazing stories. WARNING: Some text and images on this website may be upsetting to some readers.