Footballers can generally count themselves lucky; they are paid to play a game loved by millions all over the world, but Daniel Engelbrecht can count himself more fortunate than most.
The striker’s late winner for Stuttgarter Kickers against Wehen on Saturday had far more importance than the three points.
Engelbrecht was playing in a German third division match against Erfurt in July 2013 when he collapsed on the pitch. In terrifying echoes of Fabrice Muamba the striker was given emergency resuscitation.
Afterwards it was discovered that the 24-year-old was suffering from an inflamed heart muscle and an abnormal heart rhythm.
Four operations later and the striker returned to the pitch, becoming the first professional in Germany to wear a defibrillator while playing. The small device is inserted just under the skin in his chest and shocks the heart should anything go wrong.
Article continues below
And, on Saturday, Engelbrecht netted his first goal since making this unexpected return. After scoring, the striker lifted his shirt to reveal on top underneath emblazoned with the words “Nothing is impossible” which promptly earned him a yellow card.
In addition to treatment for his heart, Engelbrecht suffered anxiety and panic attacks which resulted in the striker receiving counselling. He told The Guardian: “There were phases when I had to take so many tablets that I suffered from hallucinations.
“When I woke up at night, I saw people walking through my room or sitting down beside my bed. It got so bad that I could no longer sleep on my own.”
When speaking about his return to the football pitch last month he said: “Before the match, the fear was back of course.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get rid of it. But being able to be on the pitch in another match is an indescribable feeling. It was a really big step for me. I am lucky to still be alive.”
For the time being Engelbrecht is too weak to play more than 20 minutes at a time and the data collected by the defibrillator is analysed by doctors on a daily basis.