On-pitch heart attacks: Electronic chips aim to prevent incidents like Bolton Wanderers’ Fabrice Muamba

By John McDougall

Electronic chips may soon be worn on footballer’s shirts to ensure scenes resembling Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba’s on-pitch heart attack are never seen again.

Former Trotters player Muamba, 24, suffered a cardiac arrest and was ‘dead’ for 78 minutes after collapsing during an FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur. 

But following last March’s incident at White Hart Lane, the matter is to be discussed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) at an Edinburgh meeting next month.

“Whether it can warn of problems such as Fabrice Muamba suffered, would make it a no brainer for this to come in,” said Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan.

“These chips can monitor heart performance, distance run, changes in a person’s body functions what’s operating differently to how it was in the first half

“We are trying to consider whether or not things can make a positive difference in the game rather than just another example of technology being brought in.”

The proposed trial would see a chip both on the shirt and the back of a player’s neck monitoring these variables and continuously sending the data to a laptop.

IFAB governs football’s laws and the four home nations FA’s – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – as well as FIFA can vote on such issues.

And Regan feels despite conflicts of opinion regarding technology creeping into the game, players health of is of paramount importance.

“There is one school of thought that it’s a pure game and shouldn’t be any technology,” he said.

“Another thinks if you can make players medically safer why shouldn’t it be considered? There may well be medical benefits.”

Muamba – who retired from professional football last August – made 148 appearances in four seasons at the Reebok Stadium, scoring four times. 

Image courtesy of ITV, via Yahoo, with thanks.

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