PSL medics not up to scratch
Sport24 columnist Mark Gleeson (File)
The English have been slapping themselves on the back in an orgy of self-congratulation following the Fabrice Muamba heart attack scare.
The miraculous recovery of the Congolese-born player, sitting up and ‘tweeting’ this weekend, despite his heart stopping for over an hour, is being hailed as a triumph of the organisation at English Premiership games.
The fact he was given comprehensive treatment on the pitch before being rushed to hospital and, as a result, escaped death, has had the English in raptures over the standards their league sets.
They are masters at self-publicity, even if the central character in the heroic saga was seemingly a cardiologist who jumped out of the crowd to assist.
But that aside, the English league is generally held up as the standard bearer and many a time a delegation from our own Premier Soccer League has gone across to study their planning and procedures.
The PSL, as I have written often without fear of being accused of toadying up to officials, is an organisation that has come a long way in recent times and gives the impression of continually seeking to strive for added excellence.
That’s is why they get ultra-defensive when they, or their procedures, are shown to be less than efficient as was the case with Itumeleng Khune head injury last Wednesday.
The PSL rushed onto a public relations defensive after they were accused of not caring for the players’ welfare by Kaizer Chiefs coach Vladimir Vermezovic.
Within 24 hours they had issued a press release which candidly said they were satisfied with the medical treatment Khune received on the pitch at the Moses Mabhida Stadium after a sickening clash of heads with Thamsanqa Gabuza.
But the facts paint a rather unsatisfactory story.
*An unconscious Khune did not receive any oxygen on the pitch despite his shallow breathing and a request from the Chiefs doctor
*The stretcher bearers attempted to move Khune. You never move an unconscious person who has just suffered a trauma unless you are first satisfied he has suffered no spinal injury
*The stretcher bearers did not seem to have any rudimentary medical training
*There was just one stretcher brought onto the pitch
*The doctor at the stadium did not take charge of the situation as should have been the case and did not even introduce himself/herself to Chiefs’ medical personnel at any stage
*Chiefs’ doctor had to take the player to hospital, leaving the rest of the team without medical care for the rest of the game. What would have happened had there been another on-field trauma that required a quick medical response?
It seems the PSL were too quick to go into spin doctor mode and wheeled out poor Derek Blanckensee to try and gloss over a serious breach in standards.
Doctors say the medical care at grounds is not up to scratch. They say not only at Moses Mabhida but also out other supposed top class venues too.
The PSL was wrong to go into ‘denial mode’ after Vermezovic criticised them. Instead of investigating whether he was right or not, they went onto the defensive straight away.
It will be interesting to seek whether they charge him this week for his utterances.
His arrogance does mean he shoots off his mouth every now and then … but this time he is right. Care was not good enough for a league that seeks world class standards.
Mark Gleeson is a respected television commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.
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