A friendly game between first division side Hvidovre and the reserve team from Super League side FC Nordsjælland ended in tragedy last night when a lightning strike almost killed one of the players.
Rain poured down on the stadium in the Copenhagen suburb of Hvidovre when Jonathan Richter, a midfielder with FC Nordsjælland, was suddenly struck by the lightning bolt.
Police spokesman Brian Munch told Ekstra Bladet newspaper that the 24-year-old may have been hit in the chest or head by the strike, which also knocked five or six nearby players to the ground.
Horrified teammates looked on, including Richter’s twin brother Simon, as the team medic rushed to give the player CPR. Paramedics arrived about 15 minutes later and took over attempts to resuscitate him before rushing the player to the nearby hospital.
Richter has been placed in an artificial coma and his body temperature reduced to 34 degrees Celsius ‘to keep his circulation stabile,’ said Munch. ‘He’s in critical condition and his relatives are with him.’
Players from both teams have been offered crisis counselling and Allan K. Pedersen, owner of FC Nordsjælland, described it as a horrifying accident that had affected everyone at the club.
‘All our thoughts and prayers are with Jonathan, his family and friends and we know that his fantastic level of fitness will be a help to him in the tragic situation that he suddenly and so meaninglessly finds himself in,’ wrote Pedersen on the club’s website.
Ahead of Sunday’s game against Aalborg, regular squad training was cancelled today and the club said it does not wish to comment further in order to give Richter and his family some privacy.