- RKC Waalwijk goalkeeper Etienne Vaessen collapsed and had to be resuscitated
- The match was suspended because players in tears hid Vaessen’s body from view
- Vaessen lay motionless on the field and was carried away on a stretcher
Ajax Amsterdam’s away match against RKC Waalwijk was stopped in the 84th minute on Saturday after RKC goalkeeper Etienne Vaessen was eliminated in a duel with an opponent.
Vaessen went down after a collision with Ajax striker Brian Brobbey, causing panic reactions from his teammates as they frantically called for medical help.
Screens were placed around the goalkeeper to protect him from the public eye and players from both sides watched with tears in their eyes as a defibrillator was sent onto the pitch.
Vaessen lay motionless on the field for several minutes before being carried away on a stretcher. Both teams went inside and after consultation the match was stopped.
“Etienne was out of action for a while,” RKC director Frank van Mosselveld told NOS about an hour after the incident.
“Our medical staff immediately started CPR, but it appears there was no problem with his heart. He regained consciousness when he left the field, but he did not know where he was.’
De Telegraaf said that 28-year-old Vaessen had been taken to hospital.
The match between RKC Waalwijk and Ajax was stopped after Etienne Vaessen was eliminated in a collision with Ajax player on Saturday during an Eredivisie match with Ajax player Brian Brobbey.
The players of RKC Waalwijk were left in tears after the harrowing incident
Vaessen made his debut for RKC in 2016 and played more than 180 games for the club
RKC goalkeeper Mark Spenkelink was left sad after the incident with Vaessen
The official Ajax account on X, formerly known as Twitter, later wrote: ‘The match has been temporarily suspended due to an apparently serious medical situation. We are thinking of you, Etienne.
‘This is about more than just football. I pray you are well, Etienne.”
RKC wrote: ‘Dear RKC members, The competition has finally been stopped. As soon as we know more, we will contact you. Thanks for now and have a safe trip home.’
In a moving moment, the stadium announcement that the match was being permanently abandoned was met with cheers and loud applause before the crowd began singing a rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ for the stricken goalkeeper.
Ajax was leading 3-2 when the game was stopped, with Steven Berghuis giving his team the lead.
The 28-year-old Vaessen has spent his entire career at RKC Waalwijk, after making his debut for the club in 2016.