DEATH OF PATRICK EKENG: WHITHER FIRST AID SERVICES IN OUR LEAGUE?

It has been revealed that the unfortunate death of Cameroonian international Patrick Eneng recently in Romania during a league game for his club Dinamo Bucharest could have been avoided if only Romanian clubs had heeded to the pleas of AFAN the Romanian Players Union. After Henry Chinonso Ihelewere died in a preseason match in 2012, AFAN asked the Romanian federation to make it compulsory for clubs to have fully-equipped ambulances at all official and friendly matches.

It would have cost as little as 400 euros per club per match to have state-of-the-art equipment available but the plan was not adopted, AFAN president Emilian Hulubei said. FIFPro,  the world footballers’ union are also very interested in the matter. Its a pity we lost a young man in his prime but the whole scenario makes me think at the situation in Nigeria and I dare say that I dread the repercussions of any life threatening incident in our league because the first aid services in our stadia are nothing to write home about.

Nigerian league clubs, like their Romanian counter parts are lose with first aid equipment in our stadia. I’ll equipped and ill trained Red Cross‎ persona often times in mufti (who is sure they are not just home fans) carry stretchers and that’s about all they do. I doubt if they will be able to identify a serious health issue if a player is ever involved in one during a game. I doubt they will be able to administer any first aid if needed.

I was at a league venue this season when a player came off worse from a head inj‎ury and seemed to lie lifeless on the pitch. I watched in horror as both teams’ doctors and nurses rushed to the scene and along with other concerned players and officials, crowded  the scene. I wondered who was in charge, who was actually helping or watching and asked myself ‘how is this young man expected to get some fresh air when everybody is all over him?’

Soon I saw people motioning for the ambulance. ‎Soon I saw a man (probably the driver) frantically run and jump into the old Volvo ambulance parked near the pitch. Soon I saw him jump out and open the bonnet. The car refused to start. The player soon seamed to regain consciousness and get to his feet. And everything returned to normalcy.

I asked myself, ‘what if the injury had been more fatal?’ ‘What if the ambulance had been needed badly?’. ‘What equipments does the ambulance have to cope with serious emergencies?’ Too many questions without answers.

I know the LMC recently supplied every team in the league with medical equipment to handle emergencies including defilibrators‎. Kudos to them. They should go a step further to ensure only functional and we’ll equipped ambulances are used in their matches. A stitch in time saves nine.

Bearing in mind the role AFAN‎ played and still play in Romania regarding the welfare of their players I pity the Nigerian players because they don’t have a union to speak out for them. FIFPro please help them!