Peter Biaksangzuala, 23, was ecstatic after he tapped in a 62nd-minute goal for Bethlehem Vengthlang FC in their clash with Chanmari West FC last Tuesday. He immediately proceeded to celebrate his equalizer with a series of front flip somersaults, just like Germany legend Miroslav Klose does it.
Unfortunately, his acrobatic maneuver didn't go according to plan as he landed awkwardly on the pitch. He remained motionless on the pitch in prostrate position for a few seconds before his teammates realized the seriousness of his injury.
Biaksangzuala was immediately stretchered off and rushed to the hospital, where he passed away five days later. CT scans revealed the deceased midfielder had suffered severe injuries to his spinal cord, and that led to his untimely death.
Somersaults are one of the coolest and impressive ways to celebrate a goal, but they have been known to cause serious injuries. Former Premier League striker Lomano Lua Lua once famously damaged his left foot after scoring an impressive equalizer for Portsmouth against Arsenal. Something similar happened in Brazil too last year when Internacional striker Maurides damaged his knee in a back-flip goal celebration.
While freak accidents can't be stopped in sports, somersault-led injuries can be curtailed by banning the celebration altogether.
FIFA has a system in place where its referees show automatic yellow cards to players who take their shirts off in goal celebrations. But then it's no secret that that rule was imposed so that players don't expose the non-FIFA approved sponsors on their innerwear.
Since there are no financial repercussions with somersaults and only players' health is at risk, don't expect FIFA or any other authority to ban it anytime soon.