The soccer world was stunned Saturday when a 25-year-old player in Italy collapsed on the field from a heart attack and was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Piermario Morosini, a Livorno midfielder, was playing a second division game at Pescara, and the Italian Football Association postponed all weekend matches after the tragedy.

Deaths during competition have occurred in the NFL, NHL and MLB, among other sports. Below are 12 of the more notable. The list does not include Reggie Lewis of the Celtics whose heart defect caused him to collapse during an off-season workout or NFL players Korey Stringer and J.V. Cain who died at training camp.

On-The-Field Deaths In Sports Slideshow


Dale Earnhardt

Earnhardt died from a skull fracture sustained in a crash on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. His death prompted NASCAR to institute mandatory use of the HANS safety device.


Hank Gathers

Gathers, an All-American forward at Loyola Marymount, collapsed on the court in a game against Portland on March 4, 1990. Gathers had also collapsed three months earlier during a game and was diagnosed with an abnormal heartbeat. He was given medication for his condition but he reportedly backed off the dosage because it made him feel sluggish. An autopsy showed Gathers had a cardiac condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.


Bill Masterton

Masterton, a center for the Minnesota North Stars, died from a brain hemorrhage in 1968 after being checked in a game against Oakland. Masterton fell backwards to the ice head first. In his honor, the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. (Some consider Masterton to be the NHL's first on-ice death, although other cite Canadiens Hall of Famer Howie Morenz, who broke his leg in a game in 1938 and died about six weeks later from complications.)


Alexei Cherepanov

The first-round pick of the Rangers in 2007, Cherepanov was still playing in Russia the following year when he collapsed on the bench during a game. A lack of adequate medical resources at the arena has been cited for contributing to his death, which was caused by the same condition Gathers had -- hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.


Ray Chapman

Chapman, a shortstop for the Indians, was hit in the head by a pitch from Carl Mays on the Yankees in 1920. He died in a New York hospital about 12 hours after being struck.


Chuck Hughes

Hughes, a Lions receiver who doubled as their punter, suffered a heart attack late in a 1971 game against the Bears. An autopsy revealed that Hughes, 28, had arteriosclerosis, an abnormal thickening of the artery walls.


Al Lucas

Lucas was playing for the Los Angeles Avengers in the Arena Football League in 2005 when he suffered a fatal spinal cord injury from a hit on a kickoff return. Lucas, who played two seasons in the NFL with the Panthers, was 26.


Sergei Zholtok

Zholtok played for six NHL teams but returned to his native Latvia during the lockout season of 2004-05. Playing for HK Riga, Zholtok headed to the locker room late in a game and collapsed, dying of heart failure caused by arrhythmia.


Duk Koo Kim

Boxing has had numerous ring-related deaths, but Kim's passing had significant impact because his bout against Ray (Boom Boom) Mancini was televised live on CBS. Kim was knocked out in the 14th round, slipped into a coma shortly after the match and died four days later. His death led to boxing organizations shortening title bouts from 15 rounds to 12 rounds.


Thomas Herrion

A guard for the 49ers, Herrion, 23, collapsed in the locker room just minutes after a preseason game in Denver. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy was again cited as the underlying factor.


Nodar Kumaritashvili

You can quibble with the fact that Kumaritashvili, a luger from the republic of Georgia, died during a training run rather in competition. But his fatal crash at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver became a global story as it took place on the same day as the opening ceremonies.


John McSherry

McSherry, a veteran National League umpire, suffered a heart attack on MLB's opening day in 1996 at Cincinnati. Just seven pitches into the game, McSherry called timeout and then collapsed, and the game was postponed. Marge Schott, the Reds owner, grumbled about the game being called, saying: "Snow this morning and now this. I don't believe it."

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