Mattia Agnese, the young hero who saved a life
Mattia Agnese won the FIFA Fair Play Award at The Best
17-year-old saved the life of an opposition player
"Respect and sportsmanship should be the fundamental values of this sport"
On 25 January 2020 during a football match between Cairese and Ospedaletti Calcio, 17-year-old defender Mattia Agnese saved the life of one of his opponent's. Following a collision on the field, his opponent fell to the ground and appeared to lose consciousness. Without hesitation Agnese helped keep him alive until medical assistance arrived.
On 17 December this incredible gesture was recognised and celebrated at The Best FIFA Football Awards in Zurich, where Agnese was given the FIFA Fair Play award for his heroism. Not only did he win the Fair Play Award from FIFA but he also entered the Italian Football Hall of Fame earlier in the year.
Sometimes watching YouTube videos really pays off. The teenager from the Liguria region explains.
"Honestly, I didn't take any first aid courses," Agnese told Riviera24. "Being a very anxious boy, I happened to watch some first aid videos on YouTube: this spontaneous documentation and my instincts allowed me to take action and save the boy. Of course, I was amazed at myself.
"It is hard to explain. I found myself at a time when I had two options: stay still, or run towards him and try to revive him. I chose the second one. I understood the gravity of the situation and I tried to be as ready as possible. When I tried to help him I was so focused that I couldn't think of anything else. I acted naturally, my instinct guided me."
Often in the football world there is a tendency to see the opponent as the worst enemy, but in reality, respect and sportsmanship should be the fundamental values of this sport.
"These are situations that can happen and being prepared to act can - as in my case - foster a happy ending. In addition, often in the football world there is a tendency to see the opponent as the worst enemy, but in reality, respect and sportsmanship should be the fundamental values of this sport.
“Immediately after the episode I got in touch with the boy: it was my great concern to know how he was. Now we follow each other on social networks, we have become friends. Undoubtedly it is an experience that we will carry with us throughout our life."
Serie D President Cosimo Sibilia commented: "I am really happy for Agnese, his words to comment on the award received moved me. It is a recognition that must fill the entire movement of the Lega Nazionale Dilettanti with pride as it confirms the importance of basic football, capable of transmitting the most authentic values of sport. That’s exactly what Mattia did."
Milan legend Ruud Gullit, who was one of the hosts on the night of The Best FIFA Football Awards, perhaps summed up Agnese's efforts best when he told him: "You are my hero, our hero."