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B.C. Lions cancel practice after player suffers ‘significant medical episode’

Offensive lineman Phil Norman recovering in hospital after collapsing prior to practice starting
B.C. Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke (12) passes as Phillip Norman (50) holds off Edmonton Elks’ Kwaku Boateng (93) during the first half of a CFL football game in Vancouver, on Friday, November 19, 2021. The Lions say they have cancelled the team’s practice on Wednesday after offensive lineman Norman suffered what they described as a “significant medical episode.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A B.C. Lions player is recovering in hospital after collapsing on the field before the start of Wednesday’s practice.

Offensive lineman Phil Norman suffered what the CFL club described as a “significant medical episode.” The team added that Norman is conscious, alert and receiving medical attention.

“After going down at the start of Wednesday’s practice, Phil was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation,” Neil McEvoy, the Lions co-general manager and director of football operations, said in a statement. “His EKG (electrocardiogram) test has come back normal.

“Phil will undergo further blood testing and assessment from a cardiologist and will be kept in hospital overnight as a precaution.”

Norman signed with the Lions in 2018 after spending three years at Bethune-Cookman University. He spent the 2018 season on the Lions’ practice roster before making his pro debut in 2019.

Norman was released by the team in 2021 and was re-signed last year.

Fellow lineman Sukh Chungh was visibly emotional speaking to reporters after the event.

“It looked like it wasn’t an accident or a fall. It looked like he had dropped,” he said. “My initial reaction was to yell for the trainers and call 911. And that’s what we’re taught to do. They were at his aid very quickly.”

Head coach Rick Campbell said he’s never experienced a case like this before in his pro career and decided the best thing to do would be to cancel practice.

“Rick does a great job of taking care of us mentally and physically and I think he understands the severity of what happened today and it’d be hard to continue practice having that in the back of our mind and being concerned for Phil,” Chungh said.

The Lions are scheduled to play the Edmonton Elks at B.C. Place on Saturday.

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