Michigan’s last second loss to Michigan State on Saturday was heartbreaking, and for one fan that was literally true.
One fan in attendance at the Spartans miraculous 27-23 win over the Wolverines suffered a heart attack after the game’s conclusion, and had to be taken to the University of Michigan Hospital.
The game ended on a fumble return for a touchdown as time retired. The Wolverines were holding a 23-21 lead with just a few seconds left when they lined up for a punt that appeared to end the game. But the snap was fumbled, and Jalen Watts-Jackson grabbed the loose ball, running along with a convoy of blockers, down to the end zone, just narrowly avoiding what would have been a game-saving tackle and instead scoring the winning touchdown.
The loss had Wolverines fans in utter shock, while the Spartans fans were jumping and celebrating the most unlikely of victories.
“I heard about it. My goodness.” Meyer on MSU-Michigan ending
— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) October 18, 2015
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) October 18, 2015
It was too much for some to handle. One fan, sitting in the corner of the end zone opposite from where Watts-Jackson scored, went into distress, ESPN reported. Fans in the section were seen calling for help, and someone even performed CPR on the man.
“It was honestly a very sobering experience,” Zonca said. “At the end of the day, it’s a game. And I’m glad that people could come together to save a life.”
Michigan spokeswoman Diane Brown said medical crews attended to the fan immediately.
“We did have one heart attack at the end of the game in the stadium,” Brown said, (via CBS Detroit). “Emergency medical personnel got to that person right away and were able to take that person to the University of Michigan emergency department for further treatment.”
Michigan fans seemed to have a hard time dealing with the heartbreaking loss. University police reported several small fires burning on campus streets afterward, though all were put out without incident. A total of 76 people needed medical attention, with 12 taken to the hospital. Another seven were arrested.
Brown added that she didn’t know if the fan suffered the heart attack before or after the game-winning fumble return, and didn’t know if the fan was rooting for the Spartans or Wolverines.
Some angry Wolverines fans turned their attention to punter Blake O’Neill, the one who mishandled the snap and allowed the Spartans to run the fumble in for a touchdown. Many people left angry messages, including some death threats.
Afterward many Michigan fans stuck up for him, noting that his mistake was just that — an unfortunate play that happened to end a game between two bitter rivals.
Search the Michigan punter’s handle right now and you will see the dark side of humanity. @blakewoneill… Leave the kid alone.
— Theodore Kim (@TheoTypes) October 17, 2015
Strangely enough, O’Neill had what might have been one of the best games of his career leading up to the last-second blunder. He played well, keeping the Spartans pinned back and even connecting on an 80-yard, rugby-style punt.
The Michigan fan who suffered a heart attack wasn’t the only person hurt in the mania that followed the Spartans win. Watts-Jackson was mobbed by teammates after scoring the winning touchdown, and as they piled on he suffered a dislocated him. He too was taken to the hospital.
Brown said the fan who suffered a heart attack after Michigan’s heartbreaking loss was listed in stable condition and expected to recover.
[Picture by Leon Halp / Getty Images]