EPL doctors to assess Muamba treatment
LONDON (AP) -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
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