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Life is the greatest gift for every person and we must safeguard it to the best of our ability. FIFPro urgently requests international and national football authorities to make it mandatory for all professional clubs worldwide to submit their players to a thorough heart-related pre-competition medical assessment (PCMA), in an attempt to do the utmost to protect professional footballers from sudden cardiac death.

Every year, footballers die as a result of heart problems. In some cases, their lives might have been saved if they had been submitted to a thorough cardiac assessment, states Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge, FIFPro Chief Medical Officer.

Perhaps Akeem Adams would still be alive if he had been examined better. The 22-year-old international for Trinidad & Tobago and left back of Ferencvaros died on 30 December 2013, three months after suffering a heart attack. Both Gouttebarge and Adams' coach at the time, Ricardo Moniz, have expressed doubts about the quality of the heart-related PCMA the player underwent before signing for the Hungarian club.

Also read: “Akeem's death must not be for nothing”

For FIFPro, the death of Adams is reason to review critically the heart-related PCMA. Dr. Gouttebarge concludes that the validity and quality of the PCMA usually applied nowadays has been a subject of discussion in the medical world for many years.

FIFPro, the representative of all footballers worldwide, has three major objections to the current heart-related PCMA:

  • The predictive validity of the PCMA for sudden cardiac death is questionable;
  • There is a lack of equality: not all professional football players are subjected to a PCMA;
  • The PCMA has been made mandatory by football authorities (FIFA, UEFA...) only in international competition but only recommended in most national competitions, while it is questionable if clubs respect the mandatory character of the PCMA.

The death of Akeem Adams demonstrates yet again that it is extremely desirable to take the criticism seriously and improve the current heart-related PCMA.

FIFPro proposes the following urgent recommendations to the international and national football authorities, with the aim of preventing sudden cardiac death:

  • Further research should be conducted about the validity of heart-related PCMA for the prevention of undesirable complications and sudden cardiac death during football;
  • The heart-related PCMA protocol in professional football across continents and countries should be standardised in conformance with the latest scientific evidence;
  • The heart-related PCMA should be made mandatory at all professional levels (including youth) by the (inter)national governing bodies regardless of continent or country;
  • The mandatory character of the PCMA for all professional footballers (including youth) previously advocated should be guaranteed and monitored by the (inter)national governing bodies.

For more information: Dr Gouttebarge on pre-competition medical assessment

Media Contact

 

For more information, please contact:
FIFPro Communications Department
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M: +31 623769852 or
M: +31 613645946

Email:
info@fifpro.org or
r.beaard@fifpro.org