Mortágua, the Portuguese referee who saves lives

Lisbon, Jun 25 (.) .- Neither the Eurocup, nor Cristiano Ronaldo, the protagonist of Portuguese football is Eunice Mortágua, a referee who has just saved the lives of two young soccer players: one with three respiratory stops and the other with seizures.

Mortágua, with 25 years of experience, was refereeing last Saturday a match between Valonguense and Taboeira B, first division junior from Aveiro (north), when an 18-year-old player suffered a blow to the abdominal region.

After the foul, the footballer suffered a panic attack that prevented him from breathing, the Portuguese referee recounted in an interview with ..

“We thought it was not so serious. I sent for help, but neither team had a masseuse or physiotherapist, so together with his coach we placed the player in the lateral safety position and tried to calm him down.”

“I wanted to breathe, but I couldn’t,” recalls Eunice, who says she also suffered seizures and had rolled eyes.

Thanks to a “paper bag” they managed to control their breathing until the emergency services arrived.

“Okay,” breathes the collegiate relieved.

The second episode came that same day in the afternoon, in the match between AC Famalicão and Juveforce, in the Aveiro U-20 championship, when a 17-year-old suffered three cardiorespiratory arrests.

“The player received a foul in the ankle area”, after which he left the field to receive assistance, when he suffered an anxiety attack.

Eunice, still in the field, received the alert through the intercom. “The player stopped reacting, did not speak and had a blank look … he was not in himself.”

The game ended and Eunice joined her companions to help the young man, who, lying on the ground, was not responding.

“He had stopped breathing,” explains Eunice, although she stresses that fortunately “the maneuver was never precise” because at the first touch he woke up. There were three stops he suffered.

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The emergency services took “between 15 and 20 minutes” to arrive, says Mortágua, and the young man was taken to the Urgent Patient Orientation Center (CODU), where he recovered and was discharged early Sunday morning.

“These are possible situations. High-level players undergo examinations from head to toe, but from one moment to another, it happens,” he explains about cardiorespiratory arrests on the field.

“We know that the human being can only endure five minutes without oxygen,” he insists, and warns about the need to assist the players until the emergency services arrive.

“That is why there must be trained professionals, not only the referees, the clubs must be trained for these occasions,” claims Mortágua, who has knowledge of first aid.

Eunice Mortágua entered the world of football thanks to her father, who was also a referee. He has been in business for 25 years and is two years from the end of a career that, he says, is full of “good and bad things”, to which these two episodes are added.

“For me, the greatest pride has been being able to help.”

Irene Barahona

(c) . Agency

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