PSL reveals medical process
Johannesburg - English footballer Fabrice Muamba's on-field cardiac arrest during a match has led South Africa's top league to reveal its medical process to prevent players from taking the field with undiagnosed heart problems.
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) clarified its rules on Tuesday after saying it had been "inundated" with questions following the Bolton midfielder's collapse in the FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham on Saturday.
Players in South Africa must undergo heart checks in a medical examination before each season, the PSL said, and anyone transferring between teams midseason must undergo a new medical.
Muamba's condition has improved but he is still in intensive care in a London hospital after his heart stopped beating during the game. He began breathing on his own on Monday, the hospital said.
Medics tried to resuscitate Muamba at the ground after he collapsed face down on the pitch in the first half at White Hart Lane.
The incident has led to an outpouring of support for the 23-year-old Congo-born player and is likely to cause many leagues to review their procedures for detecting and reacting to heart problems.
England's Premier League has already begun looking at possible improvements to testing and treatment, even though the emergency staff at Tottenham have been praised for their work.
Besides preseason testing, South Africa's PSL said match officials will meet before every game to review details of ambulances and other emergency vehicles at stadiums, the qualifications of medical staff and the location of the nearest hospital on standby.
"Our approach is multifaceted, including prevention, reaction and financial support," the PSL said.
Cameroon midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe collapsed and died in a 2003 Confederations Cup game in France, while Hungary striker Miklos Feher and Sevilla defender Antonio Puerta both died after suffering a heart attack in a game.
Last year, Japan international Naoki Matsuda died after suffering a cardiac arrest during training.