Miklos Feher was a Hungarian professional footballer who played as a striker for several clubs in Portugal and the Hungary national team. He was known for his skills, speed, and goalscoring ability. He had a promising career ahead of him, but it was cut short by a sudden and shocking death on the pitch. What was the cause of Miklos Feher’s death and how did it affect the football world?
The Fatal Match
On January 25, 2004, Feher was playing for Benfica against Vitoria de Guimaraes in a league match. He had just come on as a substitute and assisted another substitute, Fernando Aguiar, for the only goal of the match. In injury time, he received a yellow card for wasting time and smiled at the referee. Then, he suddenly bent forward, seemingly in pain, and collapsed backwards to the ground. He was unconscious and his eyes were wide open.
The players and staff from both teams rushed to help him, as well as the medical personnel. They performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on him and an ambulance arrived on the pitch. He was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for a cardiac arrest. However, despite all the efforts, he could not be revived. He was pronounced dead at 23:10 local time, about 90 minutes after his collapse.
The match was broadcast live on television and many viewers witnessed the tragic scene. The news of his death spread quickly and caused a profound shock and sadness in the Portuguese and Hungarian football communities, as well as among fans and players around the world.
The Cause of Death
The autopsy performed on Feher’s body revealed that he died of cardiac arrhythmia brought on by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), according to Wikipedia. HCM is a genetic condition that causes the heart muscle to become abnormally thick, making it harder for the heart to pump blood effectively. It can also disrupt the electrical signals that control the heartbeat, leading to irregular rhythms or arrhythmias.
HCM is one of the leading causes of sudden cardiac death in young athletes, especially those who engage in intense physical activity. It is often asymptomatic, meaning that it does not show any signs or symptoms until it is too late. It can also be missed by routine medical tests, such as electrocardiograms (ECGs) or echocardiograms (ECHO), which measure the electrical activity and structure of the heart.
Feher had undergone several medical tests before and during his career, but none of them detected any abnormality in his heart. He had no known history of heart problems or risk factors. He was fit and healthy, and showed no signs of distress or discomfort before his collapse.
According to ABC News, Feher’s death was due to natural causes and not because he had taken any drugs or substances that could have affected his heart. The blood tests revealed no signs of alcohol, drugs, doping agents, or anabolic steroids.
Feher’s death left a huge void in the football world. He was remembered by many as a talented, humble, and friendly person who loved the game and his teammates. He had a bright future ahead of him, as he was only 24 years old and had scored seven goals for Hungary in 25 international matches.
As a tribute to him, Benfica retired his number 29 shirt, which he wore during his time at the club. His body was flown back to his native Hungary, where he was buried with full honors. Thousands of people attended his funeral, including his family, friends, teammates, coaches, officials, and fans.
His death also raised awareness about the importance of screening and preventing cardiac problems in young athletes. Several initiatives were launched to provide more comprehensive and frequent medical tests for football players and other sportsmen. His case also prompted research and development of new technologies and methods to detect and treat HCM and other heart conditions.
Miklos Feher’s cause of death was a tragic reminder of the fragility of life and the unpredictability of fate. He died doing what he loved most: playing football. He left behind a legacy of passion, talent, and joy that will never be forgotten by those who knew him or watched him play.