Wednesday, April 18, 2012
What the heck is going on in European soccer leagues?
This past weekend, 25-year-old Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini collapsed during a Series B match in Pescara, Italy, and died of cardiac arrest. Morosini's death comes about a month after Fabrice Muamba, who plays for the English Premier League team Bolton, collapsed on the field during an English Premier League game.
Muamba's heart had stopped for 78 minutes when doctors were able to restart it. Morosini, much like Muamba, just collapsed on the field without any type of physical contact at the time.
My heart goes out to Morosini's family, but hopefully some good can come out of his death. When the autopsy is complete, we might have some answers to what is happening to these young players.
Muamba is just 24 years old. He was released from the hospital April 16, where he's been recovering since he collapsed March 17 during a Football Association Cup match at Tottenham. His soccer career may be over, but he probably still has a long life ahead of him even without soccer.
Both incidents are tragic and doctors need to find answers.
Several questions immediately jump to mind: Are both players victims of congenital heart defects? Are soccer players using some sort of performance-enhancing drug or drugs that is causing cardiac arrest? Was it just two unrelated and tragic incidents?
I am not saying these players were using drugs, but the soccer teams need to be open and look for answers to protect other players from collapsing on the field. If both players were victims of detectable birth defects, teams need to begin screening so players are not on the field like ticking time bombs.
If performance-enhancing drugs are involved, European soccer leagues need to test for the substance and suspend players they catch using them. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association must not be the secretive organization it normally is. Instead, FIFA must be out front so this does not happen during a World Cup Match (or any other game, for that matter).
Muamba and Morosini are not the only soccer players who have collapsed during the last 10 years.
Marc-Vivien Foe collapsed and died during Cameroon's Confederations Cup match against Colombia in 2003. Sevilla's Antonio Puerta passed away in 2007, three days after collapsing with a heart attack during a league match against Getafe.
Three deaths in nine years and two players collapsing within a month of each other is serious. Soccer needs to find answers.