Incredible moment teen Socceroos star Nestory Irankunda is saved from death by quick-thinking referee when he stopped breathing after hard fall during match
- Quick-thinking ref saves Socceroos life
- Nestory Irankunda stopped breathing
- Referee Verdicchio is medical expert
The quick thinking of referee Christian Verdicchio has saved the life of Socceroos young gun Nestory Irankunda after he was left unable to breathe in an on-field incident on Friday night.
The Adelaide United wiz kid, 17, took a heavy fall during a state league match against Campbelltown City and found himself fighting for life on the pitch as his tongue appeared to block his throat.
Irankunda, who had netted the winning goal earlier in the match, was in serious distress as he was quickly surrounded by players from both teams and referee Verdicchio.
‘He was gasping for air,’ Verdicchio told 7NEWS.
‘It was at that point, when he was holding his throat, it was very clear that he was not in a good situation.’
Christian Verdicchio has saved the life of Socceroos young gun Nestory Irankunda (pictured centre) after he was left unable to breathe after an on-field clash on Friday night
Verdicchio, who is also a cardiac rehabilitation expert, sensed something was wrong and acted without hesitation.
‘Rolled him over, tried to get the tongue out and once that was done just kept him there side-on,’ he said.
‘I’ve seen players hit the floor before and not breathe but that one was something different. He was not in a good place at all.’
Irankunda was conscious throughout the ordeal and remained motionless for more than three minutes before rising and making his way to the bench.
The teenage sensation was able to return to training on Saturday and is being closely monitored by the club.
‘At the end of the day it’s just one of those things – coulda, woulda – but at the end of the day he’s here,’ Verdicchio said.
‘And he’ll probably back soon on the pitch again.’
Irankunda made headlines last season for Adelaide with some impressive performances and has since attracted the attention of Bayern Munich.
Verdicchio, who is also a cardiac rehabilitation expert, knew what to do when he saw the teenager (pictured) struggling on the ground
Irankunda has made a name for himself with Adelaide and has even attracted the attention of giant clubs like Bayern Munich
Coach Carl Veart said in May that reports of him signing with the European giants were wrong.
‘There is no deal been done at this stage,’ Veart said.
‘The last conversation I had is there’s still quite a few clubs throwing their hat in the ring.
‘So I don’t think it’s going to be a straightforward decision.’
FIFA regulations prevent Irankunda moving to Europe before his 18th birthday in February next year – a month after the transfer window closes.
Veart chose his words carefully about United selling the explosive winger, who was drafted into the Socceroos squad as a train-on player last March.
‘There’s good chance that we will, but we have still got another season at least with him,’ Veart said.
‘The club will take its time before they make a decision.
‘And I suppose Nestor has to take his time as well with his group to make sure that the next step in his career is a good one and into a place where he can keep developing.’