Are we ready to deal with on-field emergencies?

Mar 19, 2012
  • Are our sporting Federations especially football ready to deal with pitch emergencies?

Safety of the players, the one most important aspect of the modern game should take priority over everything else.

Players are the reason why we fork out lots of money to go and watch them express their God-given skills. It is not just about their welfare but safety whenever they put their bodies on the line. Why safety first?

Fabrice Muamba (Bolton) was hospitalized after collapsing while playing against Manchester City in an FA Cup match.At the time of writing this, he was still in critical condition.

In 2010, there was a tragedy at the Nyayo National stadium in which
was deeply involved. On sunday there was the Gor Mahia/AFC Leopards derby which was marred by crowd violence, what if one the players was hit during the fracas?

The pertinent question is, are we in Kenya prepared for any emergency on the pitch or in our stadiums? Are the players adequately insured? Are there qualified personnel on the venues whenever there is a match? Are they trained to deal with any emergency?

Are there doctors on standby? Is it mandatory to have equipped ambulances at the match venues? Tough questions but the answers would shock you.

I know that in rugby, they make an attempt to ensure that there is an ambulance during tournaments and rarely would a game kick off unless the ambulance was there. They also have hospitals on call. Is this true for other sports?

As a player, we had to cope with the death of one of us on the pitch. The memories are still fresh but I know that everything possible was done to save his life.

As we were herded back into the Impala changing room, we prayed for our colleague’s good health.

I clearly remember a medical student (who was a cheer leader) instinctively rushing on to the pitch to offer assistance. Guess what, policemen (they who are supposed to be trained in first aid) tried to stop him until the fans told them off! Steel Pulse was my hero that fateful day.

A few years later, another good friend died after sustaining a rugby injury. He was rushed to a nearby hospital. My big question is, are we prepared for any emergencies on or off the pitch?

Eric Odanga

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