Georgian defender Luka Lochoshvili sprinted over to Georg Teigl as he dropped unconscious during an Austrian Bundesliga match between Austria Wien and Wolfsberger AC in February last year.
Austria Wien right-back, Teigl, 32, had suffered a head injury after colliding with an opponent’s knee during a challenge.
While the game briefly continued, Lochoshvili, 24, spotted the seriousness of the situation and sprinted over to Teigl.
Realising Teigl was at risk of choking, Lochohvili reached into his mouth and appeared to remove his tongue from his throat, just as team medics arrived to assist.
Teigl, who suffered a skull fracture as well as a broken cheekbone and jaw in the incident, later thanked Lochoshvili in an Instagram post, saying: “Thank you, Luka Lochoshvili for your quick reactions.
“Your intervention may well have saved my life.”
On Monday, Lochoshvili, who now plays for Italian side Cremonese, was honoured with the FIFA Fair Play Award at The Best FIFA Football Awards.
Lochoshvili, speaking via video link at the awards ceremony in Paris, said: “This is a huge honour for me, I would like to thank you for this award.
“I’m very happy about that, but even happier that I was able to save Georg’s life. The most important things in football are fair play and respect.”
The incident took place on 27 February last year as the match drew to a close.
After the final whistle, players from both sides ran over to thank and congratulate Lochoshvili for his response to the incident.
Speaking afterwards, Wolfsberger AC coach Robin Dutt said: “It was an incredible feat from Luca.
“In all honesty, I think that was the most important moment on the pitch today.”
Austria Wien boss Manfred Schmid also heaped praise on Lochoshvili, saying: “It was a very dramatic moment.
“We can only congratulate and thank Lochoshvili for what he did. Even if you have the right training, it’s not always easy to step up when a situation like that presents itself.”
Teigl has since recovered and returned to football with the Austrian club.