NPFL Player’s Death on The Pitch
ONCE again and regrettably too football supporters across the nation were thrown into mourning on Sunday, March 15, in Lafia following the death of Chieneme Martins, a player of Nasarawa United Football Club who slumped and died during the Nigeria Professional Football League 23.
HE was said to have slumped and attended to by the medics who rushed to the pitch in a desperate bid to resuscitate him but all efforts did not revive him .
MATTERS became compounded as the only ambulance in the stadium malfunctioned forcing fans to convey the half dead player in the governor’s press crew bus, but died on the way to the hospital.
THIS unfortunate and sudden death of players on the field of play is becoming a recurring decimal, in our country as we remember the day midfield maestro, Samuel Okwaraji also slumped and died during a World Cup qualify against Angola at the National stadium, Lagos in 1989.
OUTSIDE Nigeria, prominent footballers like Marc Vivien Foe of Cameroon, Chiect Tiote of Ivory Coast, Gofaone Tiro of Botswana, Moise Brom Apanga of Gabon Brou Apanga, Gabonese, Patrick Ekeng, Cameroonian and Zambia’s All had died while playing football.
MARTIN’S death though painful but is avoidable if the necessary medical equipment were on ground to attend to the situation. Information gathered revealed that the rickety ambulance at the stadium did not work, Ditto, there was no ventilator to resuscitate the player except for the cold water that was placed on his forehead.
IT is therefore a sad commentary, and bad image of football and its management where life saving medical equipment at sport events are taken for granted. Notable medics like doctors, nurses, physiotherapists are hardly seen during football matches in the country and when available do not have the necessary drugs to respond to critical injuries and emergencies. No wonder many footballers have lost their lives to sordid human attention on the field of play.
MANY stadia being used for football matches lacked modern sport equipment and health facilities when needed by injured footballers and fans.
IT is also a shame to see wounded players being treated with pure water on the field, when their counterparts all over the world have access to prompt and quality medical attention and equipment. If the medical teams in Lafia that Sunday had been well equipped, perhaps Martins would have been alive today. His death is another attestation of the despicable level of sports management in the country.
THE Hope therefore calls on the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, to see football as a serious business that should not be managed with levity. It should ensure that maximum standard is set for football management in Nigeria. Any football team without good medical personnel of doctors, psychologists, nurses, first aid equipment, oxygen, good ambulance with state of the art equipment should not be allowed to participate in events organised by the federation.
ANOTHER thing is that football players in the country must be subjected to thorough medical examination before during and after football games in the country. In other climes, we have seen players newly acquired by a football team going through series of tests to ascertain their value and health fitness for the season, pre-season matches. A cue from this culture will save our players the incessant, sudden and embarrassing death of players and agony of their dependants.
MORE importantly, football teams and officials should be trained on how to handle cardiopulmonary resuscitation, CPR and modern equipment to examine players having one ailment or the others.
FINALLY, we call on the management of the NPFL, football stakeholders and the private sector to organise a round table on funding and moving the league forward in line with international best practices.