In the midst of all the current holiday festivities, tragedy has unfortunately reared its ugly head. Motherwell captain Phil O’Donnell, aged just 35, has died after collapsing during this weekend’s clash with Dundee United. Medical staff believe he suffered a seizure while being substituted, but despite the best efforts of the Motherwell and Dundee doctors present, O’Donnell never regained consciousness.
This incident comes as a horrific bookend to a year that has also seen Leicester City defender Clive Clarke collapse at half-time (needing a defibrillator to bring him back round) and 22 year old Seville prospect Antonio Puerta also die following “postanoxic encephalopathy and a multiple failure of his organs caused by the prolonged cardiac arrest.”
“He was a man amongst boys, in every sense of the word, in his attitude and professionalism, in his integrity and in his sincerity,” said Motherwell manager Mark McGhee in an emotional press-conference yesterday. “He was a great, great player to have worked with and I am honoured to have been his manager and to have worked with him,” McGhee added.
Formerly of Celtic and Sheffield Wednesday, O’Donnell was dubbed one of Scotland’s brightest young things when he first broke into the Motherwell side as a teenager. An international cap followed, before he returned to his formative club as captain, delighting in the fact that he was able to play alongside his nephew David Clarkson.
It goes without saying that all of STT’s thoughts are with his wife and four young children during this terrible time.