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Player with the Detroit Lions dies after collapsing on the field

The Detroit Lions’ Charles F. (Chuck) Hughes passed away tonight in the final moments of a National Football League game after collapsing.

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In the last moments of the Chicago Bears game, Hughes, an offensive lineman and wide receiver of 28 years old, had received a ball. Three plays later, running back to the huddle, he fell. It had been his first pass reception of the year.

Hughes is said to be the first football player in the NFL to pass away during a play without regaining consciousness. His passing was the sixth professional football player to pass away from an illness or injury sustained during play.

The first person to get to him was Chicago linebacker Dick Butkus, who called for the Lions’ physicians at a distance.

Dr. Richard Thompson and Dr. Edwin Guise rushed to Hughes as he lay motionless. Dr. Guise administered mouth to‐mouth resuscitation and Dr. Thompson gave external heart massage, before Hughes was placed on a stretcher.

The stunning development sent Lions’ players from the team dressing room in tears. Some muttered, “He’s dead, he’s dead.” At Henry Ford Hos pital, where he was taken, Hughes was pronounced dead at 4:41 P. M.

Dr. Thompson said it was likely Hughes died of a rup tured major vessel of either the aorta, the heart, or the brain. The aorta is a large artery that carries blood from the heart for distribution to virtually all parts of the body.

“I just talked to the hospital and they just pronounced him dead,” Dr. Thompson said out side the Detroit dressing room. “We thought we had him when we got it [his heart] going again, but …” and then he was unable to continue.

Dr. Thompson said an au topsy would be performed to morrow.

Hughes, the backup man to Larry Walton, entered the game in the fourth quarter with about 10 minutes to play after Wal ton had suffered an injury.

Following his catch there were three incomplete passes that didn’t involve Hughes.

“He came back into the hud dle and everyone said they didn’t notice anything different about him,” said Lyall Smith, the Lions’ publicity director.

“So they called the next play” he added.

It was the final huddle for Hughes, one of 13 children, who was born in Philadelphia on March 23, 1943. He was the father of a 23‐month‐old son.

Hughes’s wife, Sharon, was among the first arrivals at the hospital and members of the Lions’ team began arriving shortly thereafter.

Dr. Guise said a team of doc tors had tried to revive Hughes at the hospital. “I’ve never seen anything like it in profes sional football,” said Dr. Guise.

The last pro football death was that of Mack Lee Hill, Kansas City Chiefs’ fullback, who died in 1965.

Hill had suffered torn knee ligaments in a game against Buffalo. He underwent an oper ation two days later and died of what a club spokesman de scribed as “a sudden and mas sive embolism after surgery.”

Other pro football fatalities have been Dave Sparks of the Washington Redskins in 1964; Stan Mauldin of the now de funct Chicago Cardinals in 1948; Howard Glenn, a guard for the New York Titans (who later be came the Jets), in 1960, Stone Johnson, a runback specialist for the Kansas City Chiefs, who died in a 1963 preseason game after suffering a broken neck.

In 1967, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Hughes out of Texas El Paso. The Eagles employed him as a reserve for three seasons before the Lions acquired him in exchange for a draft pick before to the 1970 campaign.

Hughes caught a pro career-high eight catches for 168 yards in limited play last season. Last Thanksgiving, one of his receptions proved to be the game-winning play in a victory over the Oakland Raiders.

The six-foot-one, 180-pound Hughes lived in Sheridan, Texas, and spent his off-season working in a bank. He was a two-year member of the all-Texas first team at Texas El Paso and led the team as a senior.

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