TOKYO - Japan's top players were in shock
on Wednesday after former international team-mate Naoki Matsuda
was rushed into intensive care after he collapsed during
Medical personnel rushed to the 2002 World Cup player's aid
early on Tuesday after he collapsed with suspected heatstroke.
His JFL team Matsumoto Yamaga later said he had gone into
Doctors put 34-year-old Matsuda on an artificial respirator
and described his conditions as "extremely critical."
Yamaga manager Yoshiyuki Kato told a news conference on
Wednesday: "He was stable this morning but there was no change
in his condition."
Former Japan team-mate Shunsuke Nakamura rushed to the
hospital to see Matsuda, spending 20 minutes looking through the
window of the intensive care unit.
"I heard he'd collapsed but didn't hear any details," the
Yokohama midfielder told Wednesday's Nikkan Sports newspaper.
"But I saw him and believe he will recover."
Former Japan captain Yuji Nakazawa, part of Yokohama's
back-to-back title winning teams of 2003 and 2004 alongside
Matsuda in defence, was stunned by the news.
"I can't believe it," he told the Sankei Sports. "I had only
heard he fainted. "I hope he recovers consciousness quickly and
we can hear his voice again soon."
Doctors suspect the player may have suffered a heart attack
after he arrived at hospital unconscious and not having
responded to heart massage, his club said.
Record temperatures across Japan have caused a rise in
heatstroke cases with 43 deaths in the two months through the
end of July, Kyodo news agency reported.
"Matsuda is the sort of player who has enormous influence
over a team," said Yamaga president Hiroshi Otsuki. "I and fans
all over Japan am praying for his full recovery."
Matsuda has played 40 times for Japan and made 385
appearances for Yokohama F-Marinos.
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