Grant Wahl, soccer author, dies after collapsing at World Cup

Award-winning sportswriter Grant Wahl, finest recognized for his work with Sports activities Illustrated and Fox Soccer, died after collapsing within the media tribune at Friday’s Argentina-Netherlands World Cup recreation, U.S. Soccer introduced. He was 48.

Paramedics handled Wahl for roughly half-hour after his collapse earlier than eradicating him from the stadium on a stretcher. He was later pronounced useless Saturday morning at a Qatari hospital.

The reason for demise is unknown. In an announcement, U.S. Soccer known as Wahl’s work “insightful and entertaining” and praised his devotion to the game.

Wahl, who was protecting his eighth World Cup, wrote Monday on his web site that he had visited a medical clinic whereas in Qatar.

“My body finally broke down on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and lots of work can do that to you,” Wahl wrote. “What had been a cold over the last 10 days turned into something more severe on the night of the USA-Netherlands game, and I could feel my upper chest take on a new level of pressure and discomfort.”

Wahl wrote that he examined unfavorable for COVID-19 and sought remedy for his signs.

“I went into the medical clinic at the main media center today, and they said I probably have bronchitis. They gave me a course of antibiotics and some heavy-duty cough syrup, and I’m already feeling a bit better just a few hours later. But still: No bueno,” he wrote.

Wahl wore a rainbow T-shirt in assist of LGBTQ rights to the USA’ World Cup opener in opposition to Wales on Nov. 21 and wrote that safety refused him entry and instructed him to take away the shirt. Homosexual and lesbian intercourse is criminalized in Qatar, a conservative Muslim nation.

Wahl wrote he was detained for 25 minutes at Ahmed Bin Ali stadium in Al Rayyan, then was let go by a safety commander. Wahl stated FIFA apologized to him.

Grant Wahl speaks on digicam earlier than a U.S. males’s nationwide staff match in opposition to Ecuador in East Hartford, Conn., in October 2014.

(Fred Kfoury III / Related Press)

Wahl was tweeting all through Argentina-Netherlands match, along with his ultimate tweet coming after the Netherlands’ tying purpose close to the tip of the second half. “Just an incredible set-piece goal by the Netherlands,” he wrote.

Wahl’s journalism profession started with an internship on the Miami Herald in 1994; two years later he joined Sports activities Illustrated, for whom he lined seven World Cups and 12 NCAA basketball tournaments. He gained 4 journal story of the 12 months awards from the U.S. Basketball Writers Assn., whereas his e-book “The Beckham Experiment” — on David Beckham’s transfer to the Galaxy — was a New York Instances bestseller.

Earlier than he started protecting soccer solely, Wahl wrote a Sports activities Illustrated cowl story about LeBron James in 2002, when James was a junior at St. Vincent-St. Mary Excessive in Akron, Ohio.

“He was always pretty cool to be around. He spent a lot of time in my hometown of Akron,” James stated after the Lakers misplaced to the Philadelphia 76ers in additional time Friday. “Any time his name would come up, I’ll always think back to me as a teenager having Grant in our building down at St. V’s. It’s a tragic loss. It’s unfortunate to lose someone as great as he was. I wish his family the best. May he rest in paradise.”

Wahl is survived by his spouse, Dr. Céline Gounder, an an infection illness specialist and a member of President Biden’s COVID-19 transition staff.

The Related Press contributed to this report.