Sports Management issue 133

Page 34

© MAT T ALEX ANDER/PA ARCHIVE/PA IMAGES

OPINION

Ex-footballer Fabrice Muamba now raises awareness of sudden cardiac arrest

How can we prevent sudden cardiac death in sport? While rare, the sudden, unexpected death of an athlete is always a tragedy that sends shockwaves through sport. Tom Walker finds out how the industry is preventing such deaths among elite and grassroots players

W

hen Manchester

Wanderers and England U-21

City and Cameroon

midfielder, who suffered a heart-

of two rugby players in New

star Marc Vivien

attack during a televised FA Cup

Zealand – Waitohi prop Bevan

Foé collapsed

Quarter Final match in 2012.

and died during

Fortunately, Muamba recovered –

an international

despite his heart having stopped

Just this year, the deaths

It isn’t just elite athletes who are at risk. People of all fitness levels can carry undetected heart defects

Moody and Wellington star Daniel Baldwin – traumatised those who were involved in the

match in 2003, it shocked the

for 78 minutes – but was forced

entire footballing world – and

to retire from professional

raised awareness of sudden

football. He now actively

talented” 19-year-old Russian

former Newcastle FC player

cardiac arrest among athletes.

campaigns to raise awareness

ice hockey player; Frederiek

Cheick Tiote when he suffered

of sudden cardiac arrest.

Nolf, a 21-year-old Belgian

a fatal heart attack during

Sadly, since Foé’s demise,

country’s national sport. The world also mourned

football has suffered a number

Many other sports have had

cyclist riding with the Topsport

training with his new team,

of similar, distressing incidents.

their own, similar tragedies. Neil

team were among the fit, young

Beijing Enterprises.

Perhaps the most high-profile

Desai, a promising, 22-year-old

athletes who succumbed to

case in recent years was that

world-ranked squash player;

sudden, unexpected cardiac

are at risk, either. While it may

of Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton

Alexei Cherepanov, a “super

arrest while playing their sport.

be mistakenly assumed that

34

ISSUE 133 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017

It isn’t just elite athletes who

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