Breakout World Cup star Linda Caicedo may not feature again in the tournament after the Colombian collapsed at training in distressing scenes that were caught on video.
The young gun, 18, was rushed to hospital and was unconscious for at least 90 seconds as medics and terrified team-mates rushed to her aid at the team’s base in Sydney.
The rising star was later released from hospital but is unlikely to feature in her country’s match against Germany on Sunday.
Footage shows the star jogging with teammates before she suddenly stops, clutches her chest and falls to the ground.
Concerned players gather around her before a woman who appears to be a member of the training staff sprints to the scene, closely followed by other team staffers, one of whom was carrying a kit bag.
EL MOMENTO QUE PREOCUPÓ A TODO UN PAÍS
Linda Caicedo, ya recuperada, entrena con normalidad junto a sus compañeras.
📹 DSPORTS, en Australia pic.twitter.com/02vIjZisaU
— DSportsCo (@DIRECTVSportsCo) July 27, 2023
Caicedo regained consciousness as she was on a stretcher ready to be taken to hospital for treatment.
A Colombian Football Association medical staff member later said Linda is ‘very tired’ but is ‘back to normal’.
‘What happened was just a symptom of all the stress and physical demands of a World Cup,’ the team official said.
Caicedo, who scored a memorable goal against South Korea at the Sydney Football Stadium earlier this week, is no stranger to adversity.
At the age of 15 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, with the disease threatening to destroy her football career.
She needed surgery to remove a tumour and underwent six months of chemotherapy before she returned to football.
‘At the time, I didn’t think I could play professionally again because of all the treatments and surgeries I had to go through,’ she told FIFA.
‘Mentally, it was a very difficult moment in my life. I’m forever grateful that it happened when I was very young. I was able to recover, I also had my family’s support, and I feel very good now.
‘What happened made me grow. I feel thankful and happy to be here.’
Caicedo, who also plays for Spanish giants Real Madrid, was convinced her budding professional career was over until she received an encouraging call from Colombian women’s team head coach, Nelson Abadía.
‘He said, ‘no, just relax … you’re going to come back’.’
The teenager gave fans one of the most emotional moments of the World Cup so far when she scored a goal in her team’s win over South Korea on Tuesday.
Caicedo, who also plays for Spanish giants Real Madrid, is regarded as one of the best young players in the game – and lived up to that billing when she surged down the left and cut inside before firing a curling shot from just outside the area, which squirmed through the hands of goalkeeper Yoon Younggeui.
She was named player of the match after proving a constant threat to the South Koreans, who are ranked 17th in the world compared to Colombia sitting at 25th.