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Fifa promotes improved medical care

UAE workshop to highlight importance of better player monitoring and treatment

Gulf News

Dubai: Fifa will pass on its message that not enough is being done to prevent injuries and heart problems among footballers at a workshop in Dubai on Tuesday.

The one-day event called ‘Football Medicine UAE’ is being held at the UAE Football Association (UAE FA) headquarters at Al Khawaneej. Dr Yacine Zerguini, a member of the Fifa and Confederation of African Football (Caf) Sports Medical Committees will be attending the event. He said that cases such as the on-field death of Cameroon player Marc-Vivien Foe due to a heart condition in 2003 shows that clubs and football associations can do more.

“It is not rare for sudden cardiac arrests to happen. There are hundreds if not thousands of such cases each year,” Zerguini told Gulf News. “It was the sad demise of Marc-Vivien Foe that was a wake-up call for everyone connected with football.

“It suddenly became evident that something had to be done to further protect players on the field. We realised that something had to be done and a start could be made only by understanding what was happening and why.”

World football’s governing body Fifa recently distributed hi-tech cardiac kits along with defibrillators to all national associations for use in monitoring national team players. It was the presence of such equipment at Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane ground that helped save the life of Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba in 2012, when he suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed during an FA Cup match.

Tuesday’s event is being held under the patronage of Fifa’s F-Marc Football for Health drive.

Zerguini said: “It is extremely important that we take such initiatives forward.

“We are carrying out a lot of prevention programmes for injuries, doping and cardiac diseases in players. But I don’t think this is sufficient as there are only one or two people from FAs who attend the Fifa Medical Congress, and this is not really useful. What is extremely important is to organise programmes to educate doctors within each country.

“People need to be prepared to take care of a player at any given time. We need to spread all the techniques and information available among all players.”