Why Indian Footballer Died While Celebrating His Goal

Peter Biaksangzuala, an Indian player, who plays for Bethlehem Vengthlang FC, a club based in north-east Indian state of Mizoram, died while celebrating his goal for his club in a football match.

His acrobatic goal celebration ended in a tragedy as he landed with his head.

The 23-year-old landed awkwardly and suffered a serious spinal injury as he celebrated scoring a 62nd-minute equalizer against Chanmari West FC in a Mizoram Premier League match, which took place on Sunday, October 19, 2014.

Footages from the match, which was televised, showed him landing on his head after completing somersaults to celebrate scoring from close range in front of thousands of fans.

His team mates, who said he was attempting to emulate Germany’s Miroslav Klose’s World Cup goal celebrations, were set to pile onto him to join in the celebrations, but quickly exercised caution when they realized the midfielder had been seriously injured.

He died after being kept on a life support machine for five days in an Indian hospital.

Concerned about the incident, Michel D’Hooge, Chairman of FIFA’s Medical Committee, has urged players to stop celebrating goals in such ways, saying it puts their lives at risk.

“Obviously we want players to celebrate goals; they are an important part of football and we do not want to stop them. But these kinds of celebrations, all kinds of somersaults and back flips have to be stopped. Players are putting their lives in danger, as we have tragically seen,” said D’Hooge.

While stressing that FIFA would come up with a legislation that prohibits such celebrations, D’Hooge said the opinions of relevant parties, including players, referees and football associations would be sought before such legislation is promulgated.

“FIFA is warning all players not to put themselves in danger like this but I don’t think this will be enough to stop them. I believe it can only be imposed by new legislation making them illegal but this is going to take a bit more time. We have to go through a formal process and will take in the views of other parties such as the players, referees and national associations,” he said.

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