Footballer saved as alert referee pulls tongue off air passage after collision

By Hoang Nguyen   June 25, 2019 | 08:16 pm PT
Footballer saved as alert referee pulls tongue off air passage after collision
Nguyen Thi Kim Loan of HCMC 1 leaves the field on a stretcher after serious collision with the opposing goalkeeper, June 24, 2019. Photo acquired by VnExpress.
A Vietnamese woman footballer, dazed after an on-field collision, was in danger of swallowing her tongue when a quick-witted referee saved her.

In the fifth round of the 2019 national league in central Vietnam's Nha Trang on Monday, in a game between Phong Phu Ha Nam and HCMC 1, the latter’s coach put striker Nguyen Thi Kim Loan on the field in a tactical substitution.

But within three minutes she was stretchered off the field.

Loan received a cross from the left wing and went for the ball as did Phong Phu Ha Nam goalkeeper Lai Thi Tuyet. The two collided heavily and Tuyet’s knee rammed into Loan’s temple, knocking her out.

Noticing Loan was in danger of swallowing her tongue and asphyxiating, referee Nguyen Kim Viet Bao quickly opened her mouth and prevented it with his forefinger.

She was then taken to a nearby medical facility for treatment. According to the HCMC 1 coach, Loan is now stable but has to do some tests.

This was not the first instance of a player almost swallowing their tongue following a collision.

In May, Nguyen Hung Thien Duc of Becamex Binh Duong suffered a concussion after colliding with another player and lost consciousness. Then too the referee had to put his hand into Duc’s mouth to prevent him from swallowing his tongue.

On the flip side, there have been cases of players dying tragically after failing to get first aid in time.

When a person loses consciousness or suffers a seizure, they tend to lose muscle control and are in danger of swallowing their tongue and blocking their air passage.

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