It's especially worse when it was totally preventable by the most basic of medical care.
Enter the story of Alexei Cheraponov, the 19-year-old budding hockey superstar.
I'm sure you've seen the story. Cheraponov died on Monday while playing a game with Avangard Omsk, a team in the new Kontinental Hockey League in Russia. Plenty of controversy surrounded the KHL this past offseason, whether it be the lack of a formal transfer agreement between the NHL and IIHF, the Alex Radulov incident and so forth.
However, now it's got another, and much more serious, controversy.
Apparently, there was no defibrilator at the arena outside Moscow. There wasn't even an ambulance there. It took several critical minutes to get appropriate medical personnel to the rink, then about 20 minutes after that to get him to a Moscow hospital. There wasn't even a defbrilator in the ambulance that carried Cherepanov to the hospital.
"There are elements of negligence here," says Pavel Krasheninnikov, a member of the supervisory board of the Russian Hockey Federation.
I think that gets the blue ribbon for "understatement of 2008."
It is an absolute travesty that this rink did not have ANY appropriate medical equipment. We've seen two instances since the lockout where a player in the NHL suffered a devestating illness or injury during a game (Johan Franzen went into cardiac arrest on the bench and Richard Zednik's skate to the throat), but on both occasions, lives were saved because appropriate medical personnel and lifesaving equipment were stationed at the rink.
It's now an industry standard. Every arena and stadium in the NFL, NHL, NBA, NCAA and MLB are fully equipped for a rare instance like this. 99% of the time, it's thankfully not necessary.
The Russians need to take a serious look at what they're doing here.
Posted below is amateur video of Cherepanov passing out on the bench and being carried off. There's nothing really graphic about it but if you can't handle intense moments like this, I'd advise to not watch.
If you do, and you recognize the player wearing #68 standing up at the front of the bench...yes, that's Jaromir Jagr. The former NHL mega-star was talking to Cheraponov on the bench when he passed out.