Marcel Bösel grasps his crutches. He slowly hobbles towards the Fortuna Gronau clubhouse. The attacker was suffering from a ligament injury. Marcel Bösel met Marcel Ameis by the coaching bench and his teammate tapped him on the shoulder. “It’s about time that you become fit again,” said Ameis. “We need you.” Ameis was referring to his teammate’s goals: Marcel Bösel is Fortuna Gronau’s top goalscorer and the 24 year-old has made a name for himself in Westphalia. Gronau is near the Dutch border north-west of Münster.
Marcel Bösel was also at the right place at the right time in the penalty box on matchday seven of the Kreisliga A season. However, on this occasion it wasn’t to score a goal. “He possibly saved my life that day,” said Ameis. On 16th September, Fortuna Gronau travelled to FC Vreden and things didn’t go to plan for the visitors. They were losing 2-0 and were down to 10 men following a red card. Then came the 56th minute and a free-kick to Gronau. Centre-back Marcel Ameis goes up for the free-kick and Teglat Chabou delivers into the box. Ameis rises highest to head home but doesn’t remember his goal. He collided with Vreden goalkeeper Jannik Kohlar in mid-air and fell to the floor. “I had a complete mental blackout,” said Ameis.
Marcel Bösel certainly remembers the seconds after the collision. “I wondered why Marcel wasn’t celebrating his goal,” said the Fortuna captain. “He doesn’t score very often.” Bösel approached the goal scorer and spoke to him. He didn’t get a reply. “I then saw that he was shivering and he wasn’t breathing as much,” added Bösel. The striker had visions in his mind of footballers choking on their tongues as it seemed his teammate was.
Bösel knew that every second counted. He pressed his teammate’s jaw apart before pulling Ameis’ tongue out of his throat. Anxious moments. Shortly afterwards, the casualty returned to consciousness. “Some videos on social media can make you go insane,” said Bösel. “However, I’m glad I’ve seen these videos.” Ameis was able to get back up to his feet and even play for the remainder of the match in Vreden. No-one on the sidelines had realised what had happened on the penalty box. “We was standing about 60 metres away from the action and didn’t see how Bösel saved his teammate’s life,” said Fortuna coach Orhan Boga. “If someone had said to me that Marcel was unconscious, I would’ve ran to him as quickly as possible.” Fortuna played their next match without their centre-back as Ameis visited a doctor two days after the collision in Vreden. “I should’ve done that as soon as it happened,” he says today. The doctor gave a diagnosis of an injury to the skull alongside a brain concussion. The Gronau player was banned from participating in sport on medical grounds.
In the days after Bösel came to Ameis’ aid in Vreden, both players shared their thoughts over what happened in Vreden. They also discussed safety in amateur football. “Anything can happen on a football pitch,” said Bösel. “It would therefore be good if clubs were to discuss and improve first aid with their members.” He has also had to take a course for a practical driving test. “However, this was a long time ago,” he says. “You forget things very quickly.” He is certain that half of all footballers do not know how to put someone in the recovery position. Marcel Ameis agrees with this statement. “I would welcome the introduce of a refreshers course,” he says.
The friendship between the two players has grown since what happened in Vreden. “The team spirit in our squad was strong anyway,” said Marcel Bösel. The Gronau club came together after Simon Kalitzki tragically lost his life in a road accident. Marcel Bösel stayed loyal to the club in the wake of this loss, turning down offers from other clubs in higher leagues to play for Fortuna. “I wanted to continue to play for Simon’s team,” he said. The team remembered Simon in Gronau by pinning up his shirt number (17) on the wall in the team dressing room.
Marcel Bösel hopes to score a couple more goals this season when he returns to action. “I hope to return to full fitness after the winter break,” said Bösel. Ameis is also looking forward to playing with Bösel once again. Strictly speaking, Ameis is not allowed to play when Bösel isn’t there. Ameis’ girlfriend Jennie, who was unable to be in Vreden for the match, was later told the story. “She said I could only return to action if the other Marcel was also playing.”