Copa América: Referee who collapsed during Canada-Peru match is stable, 'suffered from dehydration'


The heat index was well over 100 degrees in Kansas City on Tuesday afternoon when the official collapsed on the field.

The heat index was well over 100 degrees in Kansas City on Tuesday afternoon when the official collapsed on the field. (Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

The assistant referee who collapsed on the field during the first half of Canada’s Copa América match against Peru on Tuesday is “stable” and has been discharged from a local healthcare center, tournament organizers said Wednesday.

The ref, Humberto Panjoj, went down near the sidelines just before halftime of the match at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau was the first to arrive at Panjoj’s side, and rolled him over onto his back before waving frantically for help.

Medical staff attended to Panjoj on the field before eventually stretchering him off. He was replaced by a substitute “fifth official.”

In a Wednesday email, CONMEBOL, the South American soccer confederation running the Copa América, said that Panjoj had “suffered from dehydration.”

The Kansas City region was in a heat advisory on Tuesday afternoon. Temperatures hit well over 90 degrees and the heat index had surpassed 100 degrees as the second half began. Many fans moved into shaded sections of the stadium as the second half began due to the heat, too. Some of the field was shaded, but Panjoj was on the side of the field exposed to sun.

The Copa América is being played at 14 stadiums across the U.S. as the country deals with a nationwide heat wave. More than half of 14 venues are open-air, outdoor stadiums.

Two days earlier, after a game in Miami, Uruguay defender Ronald Araujo revealed that he had to leave his team’s match against Panama at halftime due to the heat and dehydration, as he “was a bit dizzy” when he made it back to the locker room for the break.

Canada eventually beat Peru 1-0 on Tuesday, via a 74th-minute goal from Jonathan David scored.

It was Canada’s first-ever Copa América win.





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