Martin Perin Belgian volleyball

This undated handout shows Martin Perin in action at the Steengoed Arena in Maaseik, Belgium. (Volleybalclub GREENYARD Maaseik vzw/Marc Mercelis via AP)

BRUSSELS — Belgian volleyball international Martin Perin was in stable condition Monday after he collapsed with a heart issue during a match for the second time in less than two years, his club told The Associated Press.

The 21-year-old libero has an implantable defibrillator (ICD) in his body since suffering cardiac arrest in October 2022 during a volleyball game. On Sunday, the device apparently proved crucial when he collapsed during a Belgian league match between his team Maaseik and Waremme, where Perin’s brother Pierre plays.

“The defibrillator saved his life,” Maaseik general manager Dieter Leenders told the AP in a phone interview.

Perin quickly recovered and was speaking when he was transferred to a hospital for checks, Leenders said, adding that he had since spoken with the player’s father.

“They are waiting for the results to see exactly what happened,” the manager said.

Perin received a round of applause when he left the sporting venue for the hospital. The match continued and Maaseik won.

READ: Bronny James to return to court in ‘near future’ after cardiac arrest

“One hour after the accident he told his teammates he was sorry he left but was happy with the result. He did not lose his sense of humor,” Leenders said.

After his first heart collapse during a friendly match, Perin spent 13 days in hospital and had a defibrillator implanted. He was able to return to competition less than three months later.

“If anything ever happens again, I’ll be protected,” Perin told L’Avenir newspaper in an interview last year.



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