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U.K. soccer players stop match after spotting collapsed fan in stands, help get him medical aid

The Newcastle-Tottenham match took a dramatic turn as a spectator got a lifesaving assist from visiting rivals.
A Newcastle fan is stretchered away from the stands by paramedics at St. James' Park in Newcastle, Britain, on Oct. 17, 2021.
A Newcastle fan is stretchered away from the stands by paramedics at St. James' Park in Newcastle, England, on Sunday.Lee Smith / Action Images via Reuters

Two soccer players are being praised for stopping their English Premier League match Sunday and calling attention to a fan who was going into cardiac arrest, helping him get urgent medical care.

Late in the first half of the Newcastle United-Tottenham Hotspur game, the visiting Spurs were about to take a corner kick when left back Sergio Reguilón went to referee Andre Marriner and frantically pointed into the stands at St. James' Park in Newcastle.

It wasn't immediately clear to U.S. television viewers, watching on NBC Sports Network, what had so disturbed Reguilón.

Moments later, Reguilón's teammate Eric Dier got the attention of stadium staff members, and a member of the Newcastle medical team raced into the East Stand with a defibrillator. The team said the fan will be OK.

"I saw the fan lying down and one man [giving him CPR]. I was very nervous. I went to the referee and said: 'We cannot play. Stop the match.' The fans say, 'Stop, stop!'" Reguilón said after the match.

Marriner stopped the action and sent players back to their dressing rooms, leading to a 20-minute delay.

Tottenham led 2-1 at the time. Tottenham scored shortly after action resumed and then hung on for a 3-2 victory.

"Yesterday we were opponents but above all we were human beings, thank you for what you did brother," Newcastle star Allan Saint-Maximin tweeted at Reguilón on Monday.

Dr. Tom Prichard was in the stands and helped care for his fellow Newcastle fan, who was stretched across several seats.

"We administered a shock to this gentleman ... which was quite difficult in a crowded place. I've never had that before, lots of people around," Prichard told Sky Sports. "We carried on some more CPR, let's have another shock and were able to get him back around again."

Prichard, who said every moment mattered Sunday, recalled the scary incident over the summer when Danish soccer star Christian Eriksen — a former player for Tottenham — collapsed on the field during a European Championship match. Eriksen went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated with a defibrillator.

"The importance of early CPR and early defibrillation is what saved this man's life. It's what saved Christian Eriksen's life," Prichard said. "And getting things done early is what matters. If there's been a delay ... or if he was at home by himself, he wouldn't have survived."