Czech Republic goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik recalls the night his three-year-old daughter cheated death playing hide and seek

"SUDDENLY there was a dull, heavy sound. There lies my three-year-old child. Completely motionless. Unconscious."

It was one of the scariest moments of Czech Republic goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik's life when his then three-year-old daughter Nicole fell from a balcony in their house while playing hide and seek.

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Vaclik, 32, will start between the sticks for the Czechs this summer as the Group D dark horses attempt to spoil the party for England, Scotland and Croatia.

Having rejected a new contract, the well-travelled stopper has just left LaLiga giants Sevilla after three seasons in Spain.

He experienced some huge highs with the Spaniards – notably winning the 2019-20 Europa League after beating Wolves and Manchester United en route to the final.

But there were also some lows – particularly the terrifying night in September 2018 when a light-hearted game resulted in little Nicole cheating death.

Vaclik was 30 at the time and was playing hide and seek with his young daughter when she fell through a gap in their balcony and was knocked unconscious as she landed on some stairs on the floor below.

Vaclik recalled the shock he felt in a 2019 interview with Bezfrazi and said: "She hid behind a curtain on the stairs, then peeked out and shouted 'Dad, I'm here!'

"I told her to hide again and I'll count.

"'Dad, where are you?' Suddenly there was a dull, heavy sound.


A post shared by Martina Vaclík (@martinkavv)

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"We have stairs in the house and they have balcony doors with electric curtains, because of which there is a bit of a crack in the wall.

"We didn't know about it until then.

"Until the little one fell through the gap."

Vaclik's wife Martina was the first to see the youngster drop to the floor and screamed for her husband to help.

He added: "My wife saw from the kitchen peripherally that something had fallen down and shouted at me.

"When the blow came, I started and looked down. There lies my three-year-old child. Completely motionless. Unconscious."

Fortunately for the couple, Martina is a medical school graduate and leapt into action ordering Vaclik to ensure Nicole did not swallow her tongue.

Vaclik recalled: "Nicky's teeth were clenched.

"I tried to open her mouth to check she hadn't swallowed her tongue.

"Fortunately, I succeeded. I had bruises on my fingers. She had such a firm grip in that moment."

A post shared by Martina Vaclík (@martinkavv)

A post shared by Martina Vaclík (@martinkavv)

Thankfully for the relived ex-Basel star, the youngster came around as he prised her mouth open. But she started screaming so they rushed her to hospital.

The car journey was a particularly worrying period for the Vacliks – who had another daughter in January 2020 – as Nicole kept drifting in and out of consciousness.

And the 36-cap ace said: "She was still asleep. But she was not supposed to be because you don't know if she is just asleep or has fainted again. Those moments were terrible."

Against all the odds, hospital doctors confirmed Nicole had miraculously escaped with no serious injuries despite the fall from height.

Vaclik was overcome with relief but admitted it shook him to know his little girl was just inches from death.

He said: "The doctors told us it was a miracle she had nothing broken at all.

A post shared by Martina Vaclík (@martinkavv)

A post shared by Martina Vaclík (@martinkavv)

"No concussion and the results of the scans were completely fine. Those who have not experienced such a situation cannot imagine the relief.

"Our only luck in the accident was that the little one fell on the flat side of the stairs. If she landed on the edge, she would have died."

Fortunately, Nicole made a full recovery and the family celebrated her sixth birthday in March.

She often features on her mum and dad's Instagram accounts and looked delighted to pose with her old man and the Europa League trophy in 2019.

And Czech Republic fans will be hoping the family have another piece of silverware to celebrate with if their country do the unthinkable and storm to Euro glory this summer.

Former Sparta Prague keeper Vaclik will be trying to put himself in the shop window throughout the tournament having left Sevilla.

The 6ft 2in star played 94 games for the Spaniards but managed just eight last season as Julen Lopetegui opted to promote Moroccan Yassine Bounou to No 1 because of Vaclik's injury record.

Vaclik has already been linked with a move to the Premier League with West Ham said to be keeping tabs on his situation.

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A post shared by Martina Vaclík (@martinkavv)

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