RICHMOND, Va. — Tragic news came out of Richmond yesterday following reports that Richmond Kickers forward Fabiano di Cavallo, 25, was euthanized after breaking his ankle during a match against Bethlehem Steel FC at City Stadium.
According to Kickers midfielders Julian Zieliński and Raul Martinez, di Cavallo collapsed after twisting his ankle during a corner kick.
“Everyone was ahead of their defender, there was a lot of commotion when the ball was played to the far post, and then suddenly di Cavallo’s on the ground,” Zieliński commented. Spectators reported seeing the other players attempt to calm the panicked player.
Head Coach Walt Crenshaw and on-site medical personnel made the decision to euthanize di Cavallo about fifteen minutes after the incident.
When reached for comment a sullen Crenshaw simply said, “Fabi was clearly in distress. When it comes down to euthanizing a player … you just put your feelings aside and do what’s best for the team. It’s an unfortunate reality in this game.”
While controversial, the practice of euthanizing injured players is common in the soccer world given the high likelihood of re-injury or lengthy rehabilitation.
“Forwards and strikers are bred for speed and endurance; however, their long limbs and excessive joint strain can make a full recovery almost impossible,” commented Dr. Jane Kasperski, a veterinarian with the SPCA who specializes in soccer players. “It’s oftentimes more humane to simply euthanize on the spot.”
Di Cavallo, who was enjoying his second season on the Kickers, was a rising star among the team after leaving Juventus FC in 2015. Notably, the forward came from a long line of well-known soccer players. His father Andreo “Andiamo” di Cavallo sired six prized forwards before tragically being put down himself in 2008 after throwing a cleat.
Di Cavallo’s trainer, Missy Jacobs, was on the scene shortly after the incident occurred. “Fabi had such a promising career,” a visibly saddened Jacobs stated. “Fútbol is a dangerous sport but [Fabiano] knew the risks when he signed on. Still, it’s sad to lose such a strong player mid-season.”