Does Seychelles have what it takes for any emergency?


23-March-2012

Bolton team doctor Jonathan Tobin said Bolton midfielder Muamba was “dead” for 78 minutes as his heart stopped beating on its own when he collapsed on the pitch from a cardiac arrest.

Muamba is still alive thanks to the hard work of stadium medics, ambulance workers, hospital staff and Dr. Andrew Deaner, a cardiologist who was not on duty and was attending the match as a Tottenham fan and persuaded a steward to let him onto the pitch before running to aid the 23-year-old. Dr Deaner even travelled with Muamba in the ambulance to the hospital where he works.

During the 78 minutes when Muamba was ‘dead’, medics did cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on him and he was given 15 shocks from a defibrillator – two on the pitch, one in the tunnel and 12 in the ambulance – before his heart started beating again on its own.

Muamba is said to be able to recognise his family members, talk to them and Bolton manager Owen Coyle has said that he is impressed with the player’s amazing recovery adding there are hopes he could make a top-flight comeback.

Although Muamba is still in intensive care, it is quite safe to say that this is a nice end to a very sad story.
Muamba’s story should be a lesson learnt for everyone, including the Seychelles sports community.

It is said that the defibrillator treatment was instrumental in saving the young player’s life.
Do we have a defibrillator at local sports venues?
The answer is no.

National Sports Council (NSC) chief executive Alain Volcère told Sports Nation in a telephone conversation yesterday they do not have one but are in the process of acquiring one.

“We feel that the defibrillator is a very important piece of equipment which we need to acquire for the benefit of local sportsmen and women,” said Mr Volcère.

Will we be seeing paramedics at sports events every time there are sporting events?

“It’s a matter of human resource available. The NSC is short of trained people to work on all sports venues. This is why the NSC and all sports federations and associations give training to medical officers working for registered teams so that they can give first aid in cases of injuries,” added M. Volcère.

It is hoped that all teams, sports federations and associations and the NSC take note of what has just happened to Muamba.

Medical officers, who usually get a fairly basic understanding of diagnosis and resuscitation training, also have to upgrade themselves by following courses whenever available so as not to look like headless chickens when such incidents happen.

Remember local footballer Rolly Finesse of the St Francis team collapsed and died on the pitch at Stad Popiler in the mid-1990s. We do not want to see another sportsman lose his life when practising sports here.

As experts have pointed out, cardiac arrest can happen with anyone, even professional sports players who are generally in prime physical condition, especially with today's advanced physiological, nutritional and medical knowledge.

In an interview with the Cable News Network (CNN), Dr Hilary Jones, a medical expert from England, said: "What is important to realise is that playing sport vigorously can unmask an undiagnosed, underlying condition.

"So when we see someone have a subarachnoid haemorrhage, a sudden stroke on the field of play, we're shocked by it. If someone has a cardiac arrest, we're very shocked by it. These events aren't common, especially amongst athletes, but they aren't rare either."

Also speaking to CNN, Dr Hilary Jones said it is important for sportsmen and women to understand that sport does make us fit, but it doesn't rule out any underlying subtle conditions which are difficult to diagnose.

Like professional athletes, Seychellois sportsmen and women should be screened regularly and this can help with detecting any health problem they might have.

Compiled by G. G.

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