Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
The local football fraternity was plunged into mourning on Saturday following the sudden passing of one of its long-standing servants, as Paul 'Pablo' Richards collapsed and was pronounced dead at the University of the West Indies Hospital moments after his team's Masters' League match.
Forty-nine-year-old Richards, who represented Kush United, collapsed prior to his team's post-match talk following their 6-0 win over Cavalier FC at the Water Commission playing field in Mona.
"We were playing an over-45 match and he (Richards) came on at half-time in what was an easy going match, as its over 45; so not much energy," the club's general secretary Stennett McLean said. "We came off and sat right near the bench and was about to talk about the match and he just collapsed.
"We tried to resuscitate him and then rushed him off to the hospital, where they pronounced him dead."
Richards, who played right-back for Kush, had represented the Kingston-based club for over 20 years having previously turned out for Arnett Gardens in the National League as well as stints with Constant Spring and Central Kingston in the lower division.
"He didn't complain for anything, he just walked off the field at the end of the match, as good as ever and then we just saw him lying on his side unconscious on the ground," Jacques Powell, team manager, recounted. "Some of the players started massaging his head and his neck with ice and trying to give him mouth-to-mouth, but after five minutes we didn't see an improvement and rushed him to the hospital."
Richards' sister, Beverly Gray-Grant, was returning from a friend's funeral when she received a call that he had been taken to the hospital.
"When I got the news, I had to call someone to take me home because I couldn't drive," Gray-Grant revealed to The Gleaner.
When she and other family members, including his son that he lived within Waterhouse with, converged on the hospital, they were informed that the father of two had arrived dead.
"He wasn't sick; the only thing I know of is a knee problem he has, but I don't know of him having any other problem or he wouldn't have gone and played," Gray-Grant reasoned. "So unless is something that he didn't know about. The doctor said he came there dead, so they have to do an autopsy."