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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power