Budapest: World football governing body FIFA's medical experts said they wanted a defibrillator at every game at FIFA tournaments as well as players to undergo medical exams before games to prevent on-pitch cardiac arrests. Speaking at a press conference after FIFA's second medical conference in Budapest, executive committee member Dr Michel D' Hooghe said: "The main word on the agenda of every medical conference is always prevention."
The high number of sudden cardiac arrests and deaths in recent years, as well as high-profile cases such as English club Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba who collapsed on the pitch during a game in March before subsequently recovering days later, and Italian club Livorno's player Piermario Morosini who suffered a fatal heart attack in April, have called FIFA's attention to the importance of basic medical examinations. In the future, conference delegates agreed, before every FIFA tournament game competing players should have to undergo an exam, said a media report.
"FIFA is already giving money to member associations so why should this not be spent on such a useful thing as a defibrillator?" D'Hooghe said.
FIFA's chief medical officer, Professor Jiri Dvorak, said that he thinks the referee and the teams' medical staff should check the defibrillator before every match. "Players should also play a part, less simulation would make it easier for referees to quickly recognise actual injuries," Dvorak added.
FIFA have also asked every member country to complete a survey on how many people have suffered sudden cardiac arrests and deaths in their country.
"From now on, each member association will register these cases and report them to us so we can examine the underlying pathology," Dvorak said. "Through football we might learn a lot for the general population."
Dvorak said almost 40,000 children are currently taking part in the organisation's Football for Health program in Mauritius, Namibia, Malawi, Botswana, while Tanzania, Ghana, and Zambia are joining the program soon.