Twitter and Facebook users have recently circulated a video of Rafael Nadal collapsing at a press conference claiming that the footage is recent and related to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Vaccine advocate Rafael Nadal collapses at a press conference,” a Twitter user wrote.
The video is, in fact, outdated and does not show Rafael Nadal collapsing recently during a press conference. Moreover, the video is unrelated to the COVID-19 vaccine.
After using the claim’s keywords on the YouTube search, Misbar’s team discovered that the video is old. It was uploaded to YouTube on September 4, 2011, as Rafael Nadal suffered from cramps during a press conference at the U.S. Open Tennis Championship.
The U.S. Open Tennis Championships posted the video with the following caption: “Rafael Nadal experiences a painful leg cramp during today's press conference following his win against David Nalbandian.” The YouTube channel also quoted Nadal saying: “I just have cramping in my leg. That's all. I don't know. There are no questions.”
Reuters and the Associated Press have also debunked the claim, concluding that the video is neither recent nor related to COVID-19 vaccines, despite the comments circulating online. Reuters confirmed that the incident occurred during a news conference at the U.S. Open in September 2011 after Nadal’s third-round win over David Nalbandian. The tennis star had suffered from cramps post-match. According to the website, reporters were told to leave the room as medical staff treated Nadal. A trainer massaged his leg while another gave him ice and fluids, and “Nadal was eventually helped to his feet after 10 minutes and then told reporters that he had suffered from cramping.”
Rafael Nadal Collapsing at a Press Conference
According to The Guardian’s article, published in September 2011, Rafael Nadal collapsed during a televised press conference at the U.S. Open. The tennis player felt unwell “an hour after going through to the fourth round of the US Open with a straight-sets win over David Nalbandian that lasted two hours and 39 minutes in the searing midday heat.”
The Daily Mail reported on the incident in a more serious tone. The article reported that Nadal went “into a seizure” while answering questions during a post-match interview after his victory in the third round of the U.S. Open.
“Clutched at his right leg and then put his hands to his head as his discomfort grew with the threat that he could go into full body spasm…He slipped back into his leather chair and gently slid down, finally allowing himself to fall to the floor behind the desk,” the article mentioned.
Claims about Athletes’ Health Issues in Relation to COVID-19
During the COVID-19 pandemic, athletes, especially footballers, were the subject of rumors and misleading narratives after anti-vaccine activists linked COVID-19 vaccination to athletes' recent heart problems.
As some social media users compiled a list of players allegedly injured or killed by vaccines and disseminated it on social media, Misbar published a blog about misleading posts linking athletes health problems to COVID-19 and its vaccines.
“Anti-vaccine activists successfully raised public concerns about the safety and side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines. The short period between the reported incidents was used to falsely claim a link between vaccines and athletes' recent heart attacks,” Misbar’s blog concluded.
Health experts confirmed that such claims lack evidence. According to our blog, the British charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) told Reuters it was “not aware” of any published or peer-reviewed research into alleged links between sudden cardiac arrest in athletes and COVID-19 vaccines. However, some users are still posting old shocking videos of athletes showing signs of illness, claiming that they are related to COVID-19 and its vaccines.