Doldrums and thrills of panic merely describe how football fans watching the Italian Serie B match between Pescara-Livorno felt as the latter’s midfielder Piermario Morisini suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field on Saturday.
Once again the football fraternity, the world over, had been shaken but this time in a more unfortunate way-it was death.
The 25-year old Morisini collapsed to the ground without anyone touching him, he stood up looking confused and fell down again and this time he was gone-dead.
He received medical attention on the pitch but paramedics delayed to get to the hospital because, as it was later reported in the Italian media that ‘a police car blocked the way out of the stadium.’
This comes just a month after Congolese-born Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest while playing against Tottenham in an English FA Cup encounter but fortunately for him, a cardiologist fan ran onto the pitch to offer first aid.
One cannot help but wonder what would be the outcome of such a scenario if, say, a Rwandan player featuring for his club in the Primus National Football League (PNFL) suffered a cardiac arrest? Would he pass on, or would he survive?
According to the head of the medical commission at Ferwafa, Rwanda’s football governing body, Dr Edmund Mukimbili, an urgent meeting was held over the weekend to address this issue and in a new development, medical personnel and a fully equipped ambulance will be allocated at every PNFL game from now on.
“We have already established a relationship with different hospitals in all provinces that we shall be working with and we also have medical personnel on the ground in each of the provinces,” explained Mukimbili in an exclusive interview with Times Sport.
King Faisal, Kigali University Teaching Hospital (CHUK) and Rwanda Military hospitals have been identified in Kigali City and upcountry hospitals like Butare and Gisenyi are part of the programme.
An orthopaedist at Rwanda Military Hospital, Mukimbili further added that, “We are going to do this for the men’s championships, youth and the women’s national leagues as well. This also includes the fans and match officials at the stadium because it can happen to anyone.”
A meeting with all clubs, including managers, coaches and players has been organised with the federation in a bid to let the different stakeholders aware of the urgent need to have a medical team that will work hand in hand with the Ferwafa medical team at all games.
Ferwafa oversees six league games every weekend and, according to the new action plan, medical personnel, a fully equipped ambulance and several first aiders will be deployed at every stadium to ensure the safety of players, match officials and referees.
At its offices in Remera, Ferwafa will conduct a medical clinic before next season commences in which all league players will undergo a fitness evaluation, and those that will receive positive results will attain a fitness certificate, which will be a pre-requisite at every league game.
The Ferwafa medical commission consists of a medical doctor, physiotherapist, nutritionist, anesthetist and orthopaedist and so many medical personnel on the ground in all the different provinces.
And like Mukimbili said, “We better take precaution now.” At least Ferwafa will have done their part when they avail these services at the different stadia, starting next weekend.
Indeed, there was an ambulance at Kigali regional stadium, Nyamirambo, yesterday as former soccer players played against government officials.