EPL doctors to assess Muamba treatment
Premier League club doctors will discuss Fabrice Muamba’s
treatment and decide if heart screenings for footballers need to be
improved or carried out more frequently, The Associated Press has
Muamba collapsed during Bolton’s FA Cup match at Tottenham last
month after a cardiac arrest and doctors still haven’t discovered
if he had a heart defect.
Doctors from English football’s topflight will hold a debrief on
May 10 to assess the heart tests conducted on footballers, discuss
whether Muamba’s collapse could have been prevented and analyze the
treatment he received.
”We will take expert advice and we will come up with guidelines
based on expert advice,” Manchester City head of sports medicine
Dr. Philip Batty told the AP. ”It’s important we do it on the
basis of good clinical judgment rather than a knee-jerk emotional
The English Football Association’s medical committee will also
discuss Muamba’s condition at a meeting on May 3.
Muamba’s recovery has stunned doctors. The former England
under-21 international left hospital a week ago and managed to
start kicking a ball at home over the weekend.
But on April 14 Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini died after
suffering cardiac arrest and collapsing on the field during a Serie
B match, raising questions in Italy if enough is being done to
prevent athlete deaths.
”The two recent cases, what we have to accept, is that some
cardiac arrests occur for reasons … we don’t understand and
screenings would not have detected them,” Batty said in an
interview after appearing at a football conference organized by the
Isokinetic Medical Group in London.
”The screening would not have prevented those situations.
Screening can’t find everything and if you really want to do stuff
you then start going into evasive tests which actually can be
harmful for the heart as well.”
Sports cardiologist Sanjay Sharma, who has conducted heart
screenings at Tottenham and Manchester City, said he has also been
invited to take part in the meeting of English football’s topflight
”They will talk through from the moment Fabrice Muamba
collapsed through his entire journey when he ended up in intensive
care and what they had to do to get his heart started, how things
went in the two days until he woke up and what subsequent tests he
had,” Sharma said.
Sharma stressed that despite ”comprehensive investigations”
medics still haven’t been able to find the cause of Muamba’s
But he wants athletes to be screened more frequently. While
international players are usually tested every one or two years
under FIFA and UEFA guidelines, that is not the case for players
not called up by their countries.
”Even in the Premier League there are certain clubs such as
West Brom who might not have many international players, and those
guys are only tested once when they are signed,” Sharma said,
adding that it may be best for all players to have an assessment
every two years. ”That’s something I do feel is correct.”
In lower league in England, Sharma said players might only be
tested when they sign and never again unless they are called up for
”That’s got to change,” he said. ”I think that’s where the
major change will take place.”
Rob Harris can be reached at http://twitter.com/RobHarris