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The NFL has constantly been a gladitorial sport wherein violence and also aggression room applauded. Screaming pan thirst for blood in NFL stadiums every Sunday afternoon through a enthusiasm that is unmatched by any type of other sport. Countless people believe that a player has actually never died on this field of battle in an NFL game. If friend are one of those people, this day I am going come tell you around the tragic fatality of a 28-year-old football player that made the most out of what God provided him.

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Chuck Hughes was an undersized and not specifically fast player in the NFL, but what he lacked in athletic ability he more than consisted of for in heart. The irony is that the same precise heart that enabled him come play in the NFL is what did that in in ~ the end.

Chuck Hughes NFL career

The Philadelphia Eagles choose Hughes in the fourth round of the 1967 NFL draft. He played three years with the Eagles, mostly as a special teams player that sometimes acquired onto the field as a receiver. In 1970 he went to Detroit, wherein he started six games and caught eight passes. What do Hughes an NFL player was his tireless hrs of practice, functioning on recording the ball and his course running.

Hughes very first heart attack

What most people don’t know around the only player to ever pass away on the ar in an NFL game is that Chuck Hughes actually didn’t have just one love attack, the actually had actually two, and also the very first one he experienced was that exact same year in the Lions’ last preseason game. That’s just seven weeks prior to the heart strike that actually killed him.

Detroit was play the Buffalo Bills and late in the game, the Lions ran a few plays to Hughes. On among those plays, he took a shot to his ribs and also his side. The walked off the field and stood ~ above the sideline. However after the game, he fell down in the locker room. In one eerie foreshadowing of what to be to come at the finish of the adhering to month, he was raced by ambulance to Henry Ford Hospital.

Hughes stayed in the hospital for 4 days. In ~ the time, his family said the physicians thought he had actually an injury to his spleen, lung or kidney, however nothing might be confirmed. A couple of weeks later on he said the Detroit News he had actually sharp pains in his stomach and also chest however no one might figure the end what they were. He said he could handle it. He said he wanted to play.

Later, one autopsy would show he had an enlarged spleen and liver. Several doctors and ER technicians that saw the autopsy report said Haag the Hughes probably had a spleen injury that was therefore painful it motivated the first heart attack. Nobody would have thought to look because that a love attack, no in someone seemingly for this reason fit. You have actually to figure the last thing that the physicians would suppose in a 28-year-old NFL player that was healthy would it is in a heart attack, yet sadly the is specifically what that was.

The tragic 2nd heart attack

When lining left the hospital four days later on he was still to run a temperature and complaining around what he assumed was just acid reflux.

The day prior to the tragic job Chuck had gone to a party v his wife Sharon and also she recounted thinking he looked sick and also was worried. That night Chuck went to the team hotel to prepare because that the next day’s game and for the an initial time the did not contact Sharon the night prior to a game. What nobody told Sharon until later on was the fact the Chuck had been noble all the night, repeatedly vomiting, and that his teammates to be worried about him.

The Bears-Lions video game of October 25th, 1971 to be a usual black and blue division game. The video game ebbed and also flowed, v the Bears taking the command on a Bobby Douglass’ quarterback sneak, offering the bear a 28-23 lead v time running out.

With under two minutes to go, the Lions began a final last-ditch drive to try and victory the game. Larry Walton, who had actually earlier captured a touchdown happen from Lions’ quarterback Greg Landry, was injured. Number 85, lining Hughes, had replaced him.

Now Landry was in search of Hughes downfield, and also the sure-handed flanker make a diving grab to offer the Lions a clutch an initial down on the Bears’ 37-yard line. The 32-yard reception was Hughes’ an initial of the year and also only the fifteenth the his unremarkable five-year agree career.

Landry went back to pass double more, cram incomplete every time. On third down, Hughes flanked the end to the right. The bears cornerback spanning him later said the Hughes’ eyes “looked kind of strange” together they challenged each other throughout the line of scrimmage.

Hughes ran a down-and-in, but Landry passed rather to tight end Charlie Sanders, that dropped the ball close to the Chicago goal line. A collective moan went increase in the stands. Many eyes were on Sanders when Hughes, return to the huddle, all of sudden clutched his chest and collapsed around the Bears’ 20-yard line.

Lying face down in the vicinity that deep left field, Hughes twitched uncontrollably top top the soggy turf. Cock Butkus stood end him. Some believed Hughes to be faking one injury, or that Chicago’s center linebacker had finally killed someone on the field. However Butkus automatically saw something was wrong and also frantically signaled come the sidelines. Trainers and doctors hurried out. A physician charged under from the stands. As much more than 54,000 civilization silently watched and also held their cumulative breaths, medical professionals beat their fists on chuck Hughes’ chest, but to no avail. The stadion clock confirmed 62 secs left in the game, but time had actually run the end on the life of chuck Hughes.

After what seemed forever, Hughes was put on a stretcher and rushed by ambulance come Henry Ford Hospital, yet reports indicate that he had already passed far on the field as his eight hung limp and also lifeless off the side of the stretcher the was moving him. The video game resumed, distracted players, relocating listlessly inside the hushed ballpark. A siren can be heard in the distance. Moments later the video game was over and once-excited pan filed out, talking in short hushed tones. Hughes to be officially pronounce dead at 5:34 p.m. An autopsy revealed that he had passed away of acute coronary thrombosis, carried on by premature birth hardening the the arteries. Nature had offered Hughes the love of a 60-year-old man.

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The Bears winner the video game as the Lions just went v the activities after Hughes collapsed, and also who might blame them? chuck Hughes to be a guy that always made the most out that what that was offered in life and tragically the is only remembered because that being the just NFL player to die in a game, yet Chuck Hughes was more than that and also luckily the Detroit Lions honored Hughes through retiring his number 85 jersey and also giving out a most improved player annually to a Lions player in Hughes’ name.