Footballer Imtiyaaz Wagiet, 17, died in a game against Strandfontein FC in October 2019 (Photo: Supplied)
During a recent meeting at Euro 2020, Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest during a game against Finland. The prompt intervention of the doctors saved his life – but what is in place to save the lives of our children at the local athletic fields?
Boebie Solomons, former PSL coach, Santos midfielder and now SA Football Association (Safa) Cape Town coaching director said the Eriksen incident underlined the importance of equipping local coaches to make facing serious injuries in the field.
“Local coaches are our first line of defense and the first to respond when a player suffers a serious injury. Coaches’ interventions could be a life and death decision.
“Equipping our coaches with the skills to save lives is more important than the workouts,” Solomons said.
On Saturday June 12, the football fraternity was stunned when Eriksen (29) suffered cardiac arrest on the pitch. Medics rushed over to the player and performed CPR while his teammates protected him.
Solomons said that following this incident, Safa Cape Town appointed Dr Nasief van der Schyff from Victoria Hospital to explain the importance for coaches to be able to deal with such issues on the pitch.
Van der Schyff also covered in detail the preventive measures to be used on the pitch and underlined the vital role a captain must play on the pitch to ensure that an injured player adopts the correct posture to avoid injury. other serious complications, ”he said. mentionned.
In recent years, several players have died on Cape Flats football fields and Solomons is hoping that by equipping the coaches this could be stopped.
Players who died on or near the football pitches included Imtiyaaz Wagiet, 16, captain of Bayview FC’s U17 team, who died in a game against Strandfontein FC in October 2019; Craig Johnson, a 35-year-old Wesley United player who died in 2018 after leaving the field and taking his post on the reserve bench; Mogamat Ruiters, who suffered a heart attack in 2012 at the Rylands sports ground and died on the way to hospital; and Reza Salie (26) of Bluebell AFC, who died in 2010 after collapsing on the William Herbert football pitch.
Freelance sports photographer Rashied Isaacs, who is a trained intermediate resuscitation practitioner, has taken action photos at sporting events for the past decade. He has witnessed numerous sports injuries and occasionally put down his camera and ran onto the pitch to help an injured player.
“Because there are no first aid personnel on the ground, I would put my camera down and help with injuries from a broken leg to a shoulder.
“As a trained nurse and doing my homework on the community sports field, I realized there was a shortage of first aid. The first thing I did was, with the help of those who help me with the vision I have, we trained students from Macassar and Zandvliet high schools for free in first aid, ”Isaacs said. .
This, he said, had a ripple effect and the initiative was adopted by various sporting codes on the Cape Flats. But he believes more medically trained staff are needed at sports venues on weekends.
Former Santos forward Keith America said: “Coaches are normally trained on a first aid basis when they take their training classes, but broken legs are only for experts in their craft. Local football associations should involve the Red Cross or organizations that have experience in dealing with sports injuries, while all clubs in local football associations should contribute to an injury fund.
Dr Wayne Viljoen, senior director of rugby security at SA Rugby, said they have medical requirements that must be met before a rugby match can begin. At the bare minimum, no game can begin without a qualified rescuer on site, and a backboard, collar, harness and head block must be available.
“An important part of service delivery is education on how to manage these types of incidents, both proactively in prevention and when they do occur.
” Speak BokSmart National Rugby Safety Program, all coaches and referees are trained in injury prevention strategies, with particular emphasis on head, neck and spine injuries, but also on medical incidents such as the Eriksen incident. All schools and clubs are encouraged to put in place workable Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) for rugby-related incidents, which are potentially catastrophic in nature, ”he said.
Viljoen stressed that at the top of the game the presence of highly skilled and highly skilled medical teams has always been a prerequisite.
“One can only hope that the medical staff at our matches are as quick and responsive as the team that assisted in the Eriksen incident.”
At the amateur level of the game, he said, they could only encourage schools and clubs to increase their level of medical support and have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) where they are financially able to. do it.
Sigma Lions rugby team doctor Dr Rob Collins said sudden death syndrome (SDS), which is very rare, affects young, healthy athletes.
“SDS occurs when an athlete who is often removed from the rest of the action suddenly collapses and without any visible provocation. The most important problems associated with such an event are on the one hand recognizing it and on the other hand having an AED handy.
“The AED gives instructions on how to connect it to the patient and deliver a shock if necessary. This piece of equipment can be used by virtually anyone, and is designed for this type of situation and for use by trained and untrained people, ”Collins said.
He believes that organized sport should not be practiced without the presence of qualified medical personnel. SM / MC