Mourinho to thank for rapid response at the Lane

 

Fabrice Muamba's heart failure on the White Hart Lane pitch has revealed the near impossibility of predicting every such catastrophe. It occurred despite every professional player undergoing annual heart screenings since a series of deaths in the early 1990s.

The Professional Footballers' Association, which has funded the screening regime run in conjunction with the FA since 1992, said yesterday that heart defects had been detected and treated in four players in recent years, though Muamba's case reveals that there can be no guarantees. "It's not always possible to pick up every problem," said PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor.

The PFA has engaged the eminent cardiologist Dr Len Shapiro, of Papworth Hospital, near Cambridge, to ensure that players are screened for the kind of problems which killed schoolboy player John Marshall the day before he was due to sign for Everton in 1995.

The death of Terry Yorath's son, Daniel, in 1992 as well as York City's David Longhurst in 1990 were instrumental in the PFA seeking to grasp the issue. But the lack of guarantees was revealed in the death of the former Wales and Swansea City player Robbie James, who collapsed while playing for Llanelli in 1998 after what was later found to be the most common heart defect, cardiomyopathy. Anton Reid, a 16-year-old with Walsall, died during a training session in 2007 and Motherwell's Phil O'Donnell died during a game against Dundee United the same year.

The heart screening regime, now a part of Uefa rules, also includes cardio-pulmonary respiration tests, run through the Royal College of Surgeons. There are negatives attached to the system: defects have on occasions meant a club deciding to part company with a young player, or a player's parents being deeply opposed to him continuing in the sport, if a defect is found. The PFA view is that no risk can be taken.

Though there was a sense of desperation at the PFA yesterday that another player had gone undetected, the speed with which Muamba was dealt with on the White Hart Lane turf reveals how the system has been improved since Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho complained bitterly about the treatment of Petr Cech after the head injury he sustained against Reading at the Madejski Stadium in 2006.

Mourinho's claim that "my goalkeeper was in the dressing room for 30 minutes waiting for an ambulance" prompted an official complaint by the club to the Football Association and Premier League and led to the league's stipulation that an ambulance be located at grounds for exclusive use of players. Since then, the home club must also have available defibrillators and other medical equipment.

The Premier League yesterday said that its rules also stipulate that all players must undergo annual medical examinations which would lead to follow-up cardiac analysis if anything showed up. All players who train with England representative teams must also undergo cardiac screening. Muamba represented England at Under-16, 17, 18, 19 and Under-21 level.

Suggested Topics
Sport
sportGareth Bale, Carl Froch and Kelly Gallagher also in the mix for award
News
Japan's Suntory Beverage & Food has bought GlaxoSmithKline's Lucozade and Ribena
news
News
A tongue-eating louse (not the one Mr Poli found)
newsParasitic louse appeared inside unfilleted sea bass
Life and Style
Out and about: for 'Glee' character Bert Hummel, having a gay son was a learning curve
lifeEven 'cool' parents need help parenting gay teens
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Money
Anyone over the age of 40 seeking a loan with a standard term of 25 years will be borrowing beyond a normal retirement age of 65, and is liable to find their options restricted
propertyAnd it's even worse if you're 40
Arts and Entertainment
Perhaps longest awaited is the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with Brazil’s Walter Salles directing and Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen as the Beat-era outsiders
books
Arts and Entertainment
theatreSinger to join cast of his Broadway show after The Last Ship flounders at the box office
Life and Style
fashion'To start singing with Pharrell is not that bad, no?'
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible