SAPPINGTON • A referee who was rushed to an area hospital after suffering an apparent heart attack during a soccer match at Lindbergh High School has died, officials said.
Jim Duniven, 59, of Sappington, collapsed on the field toward the end of the school's varsity match against Kirkwood High School around 7 p.m. on Thursday.
He was pronounced dead a short time later at a nearby hospital.
Chris Steinmetz, the varsity boy's soccer coach at Kirkwood, said Duniven had just issued a yellow card to one of his players and the player was walking off the field when parents started yelling that the referee had collapsed. Steinmetz, an athletic trainer for Lindbergh, and a player's parent, who is a doctor, rushed to the field. The trainer and the doctor performed CPR on Duniven until emergency workers arrived.
While they worked on Duniven, the players from both teams formed a circle in the middle of the field, linked arms, and knelt on the ground in prayer, he said. The crowd was silent for the 20 or so minutes the crew worked on Duniven, he said.
Steinmetz had talked to Duniven before the game, and Duniven had said he had asked his wife to record the Rams football game and was looking forward to watching it later, after the soccer game.
"He's always been a high-caliber referee, very well-respected," Steinmetz said. "It was just one of those freak situations. He's still a very young guy."
In 2005, Duniven was honored as the Missouri State High School Activities Association referee of the year.