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

learned.

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

reaction.”

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

doctors.

”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

cardiac arrest.

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

their countries.

”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