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Grant Wahl dies

American journalist Grant Wahl dies after collapsing at Qatar World Cup

Wahl died after falling while covering Friday’s Argentina-Netherlands match. It is not known what caused his death.

A witness informed CNN that he “collapsed” while covering the Argentina-Netherlands match on Friday.

According to a Saturday press release from World Cup officials in Qatar, Wahl “became sick” in the press area and was given “urgent medical attention on site.” He was subsequently taken to Hamad General Hospital, said a representative for the Supreme Court Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the group responsible for organising the event.

Keir Radnedge, a columnist for World Soccer Magazine, told CNN on Saturday that he was treated in the stadium for “around 20-25 minutes” before being taken to the hospital.

This happened during the final minutes of overtime. Colleagues to my left all of a sudden started yelling for help. Someone had obviously fallen. Because the seats are mobile, people were able to clear a bit of space around him, as explained by Radnedge.

Moreover, he said, “the medical crew arrived quite soon, and to the extent that they could, they provided treatment.”
No one knows for sure what led to his death.

In a message posted on its official Twitter account, US Soccer expressed its “heartbreak” at Grant Wahl’s passing.

Grant dedicated his life to writing about soccer, and his passing has left us all heartbroken.

US Soccer expressed their sympathies to Wahl’s wife and family and complimented his “conviction in the power of the game to advance human rights.”

On Twitter, Gounder shared the US Soccer message as well.

I am touched by the outpouring of love from Grant Wahl’s soccer friends and family, and from so many other people tonight. “I’m in full amazement,” remarked Gounder, a veteran CNN contributor who sat on the Biden-Harris transition Covid-19 advisory group.

Ned Price, a spokesman for the US Department of State, said they were in “close communication” with Wahl’s loved ones. As part of their statement, World Cup organisers added that they had contacted the US embassy “to verify the process of repatriating the remains is in compliance with the family’s wishes.”

According to his website, Wahl authored multiple books about soccer and covered the sport professionally for over two decades, during which time he witnessed six men’s and five women’s World Cups.

It was reported on his official Twitter account that he had just celebrated his birthday with “a terrific group of media pals at the World Cup,” and that he was “extremely thankful for everyone.”

Feeling ill

Grant Wahl had mentioned feeling sick in an edition of the podcast Futbol with Grant Wahl that was released a few days before his death on December 6.

“It had become fairly awful in terms of like the tightening in my chest, stiffness, pressure. Wahl said to his co-host Chris Wittyngham, “Feeling very hairy, awful.” He claimed that he sought care at the medical facility at the World Cup media centre, fearing he had bronchitis.

He reported feeling better after taking the cough medicine and ibuprofen that had been prescribed to him.

After the December 3 game between the United States and the Netherlands, Wahl stated he felt a “involuntary capitulation by my body and psyche.”

It’s not my first time at the proverbial “rope. “I’ve done eight of these on the men’s side,” he remarked. To paraphrase, “And so like, I’ve gotten sick to some amount at every tournament, and it’s just about trying to find a way to like get your work done.”

On December 5th, he released a newsletter in which he elaborated on the incident, explaining that he had “broken down” due to lack of sleep, stress, and overwork. He’d been sick for ten days with a cold that “developed into something more severe,” but medication and some rest had helped him feel better.

Wahl had made news in November by stating that he was held and momentarily refused admittance to a World Cup match because he was wearing a rainbow t-shirt in support of LGBTQ rights.

He claimed that security personnel confiscated his phone and forced him to change his clothes because “it’s not authorised.” Wahl said he was freed 25 minutes after being detained and got apologies from a FIFA representative and a senior member of the security personnel at the stadium.

U.S. Soccer Statement On The Passing Of Grant Wahl:

When asked by CNN about it afterwards, Wahl said he “probably will” wear the shirt again.

Tributes pour in

Many in the soccer and sports journalistic communities have expressed their sadness over Wahl’s passing on social media.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement, “Only a few days ago, Grant was acknowledged by FIFA and AIPS (the International Sports Press Association) for his commitment to reporting on eight straight FIFA World Cups.”

Sports Illustrated, where Wahl worked for the bulk of his professional life, released a statement from its co-editors-in-chief expressing their “shock and devastation” at Wahl’s passing.

No writer in the history of (Sports Illustrated) has been more passionate about the sport he loved and the stories he wanted to tell, and we were honoured to call him a colleague and friend for two decades, the magazine said in a statement.

It was also mentioned that Wahl had been working for the magazine since November of 1996. Back when soccer wasn’t quite as popular around the world as it is now, he covered it as a junior reporter because he wanted to learn more about it.

In addition to his work with Fox Sports, Wahl reportedly collaborated with other media organisations, according to the statement. He launched his podcast and newsletter in 2020 after he left Sports Illustrated.

LeBron James, a professional basketball player, stated Friday in Philadelphia that he was “extremely fond of Grant.” When James was still in high school, Wahl featured him on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

James said during a press conference after the game, “I’ve always kind of watched from a distance even when I moved up in ranks and became a professional, and he went to a different sport.” When his name is mentioned, I can’t help but reflect about my time as a youngster living with Grant in this very building. There has been a terrible loss.

American tennis legend Billie Jean King described the news of her death as “heartbreaking.”

King tweeted on Saturday that Grant was “a skilled writer, and a champion for the LGBTQ community, and a significant voice for women’s soccer.” He gave voice to people who deserved to be heard. God bless him and his loved ones.

Former and present US national team players Ali Krieger and Tony Meola, as well as professional soccer organisations like Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League, expressed their sadness at the news.

Co-host of Wahl’s show Wittyngham told CNN on Saturday that he was still processing the news of Wahl’s death.

“Grant Wahl is the go-to guy for American soccer news. For a while, he was pretty much on his own… Wittyngham claimed that Grant was the first individual to devote serious interest to the sport.

Reporters who had worked with Wahl or who had met him at previous World Cups recalled their experiences.

Legendary sportscaster Dick Vitale once said of him, “Before he became the finest covering soccer, he did hoops and was very gracious to me.”

According to a tweet from U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Timmy T. Davis, Wahl was “a well-known and much respected reporter who concentrated on the beautiful game.”

Mukul Kumar

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