Referee Patrick Ittrich and teammate Nadiem Amiri credited with saving Josuha Guilavogui's life


Referees are usually given a watching brief in football matches, getting involved as little as possible. That is until a player’s life is potentially at risk, as Patrick Ittrich showed when he stepped in to administer first aid to an unconscious Josuha Guilavogui in Mainz’s game away at Bayern Munich.

The game was 33 minutes old at the Allianz Arena on Matchday 25 when Ittrich sprang into action. Guilavogui had just collided with teammate Anthony Caci’s knee and was instantly knocked out. The referee, who is a police officer by profession, immediately recognised the gravity of the situation, as did fellow Mainz player Nadiem Amiri.

Amiri rolled Guilavogui over into the recovery position, but the Frenchman had swallowed his tongue. Ittrich moved quickly to open up the 33-year-old’s airways and prevent him from potentially suffocating.

“If someone’s lying there like that, then you just have to act quickly. There's no praise. It's done - and that's that,” emphasised Ittrich after the game.

Guilavogui was treated by the Mainz doctors as soon as they reached him on the pitch before the former Saint-Étienne, Atletico Madrid and Wolfsburg man was substituted and assessed further by the club medics.

“Thank you very much for the quick intervention and the help, to Patrick Ittrich, my teammates and the Mainz doctors,” Guilavogui later posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Ittrich added after the match that “he [Amiri] immediately hugged me because he realised that it was an urgent situation,” before adding an appeal to everyone: “It shouldn't be down to a police officer, but to each and every one of us. Situations can always happen in everyday life where someone needs help.”

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