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Why players must be fully medically screened

Monday 12th June 2017
The tragic news that former Newcastle United attacker Cheick Tiote passed away after collapsing in a training session in China has been a shock to all. The Ivorian was just 30-years-old and was taken to hospital in China where he had been playing for Beijing Enterprises in the Second Division. This shocking news is further evidence to support the case that players must be fully medically screened before they can be allowed to play at any age or level.

If the footballing world wasn't already aware of the need for full medical screening courtesy of Fabrice Muamba's cardiac arrest, this most recent instance of a player collapsing must re-open the case.

Clubs all insist on full medicals for players before they sign their contracts but there is evidence to show that some may be more lenient than others when it comes to the players' health. One such instance concerns French striker Loic Remy who was linked with a move to Liverpool in 2014 but the Anfield club pulled out of the deal as the attacker failed a medical - rumour has it that Remy has a hole in his heart and Liverpool were unwilling to take the risk on him.

Whether or not this is true is something none of us will ever know but Remy did secure a move to Chelsea and is still playing professional football. How can this be? If a club has determined that they couldn't sign a player due to health or fitness concerns, how can another sign him? Why are there no set terms for medicals?

Switching focus back to Muamba, a thorough medical couldn't identify that he would suffer a cardiac arrest when playing but the question remains as to whether a more in-depth check up would've. An article was published two years after the incident that claimed Muamba was 'an accident waiting to happen' and the arrhythmia should've been picked up.

The same article states that players aren't always checked later in their careers but supports the claim that they most certainly should be. We may not have a full understanding of the inner workings of these clubs but confirmation that medicals have taken place only seem to be disclosed when players transfer clubs - why is that?

Cheick Tiote is unlikely to be the last player to collapse and is certainly not going to be the last to die during their careers as sometimes it simply cannot be helped. However, the nature of his death will no doubt cause major issues for the Chinese Football League - even something as innocuous as a particularly hot day could've impacted on the situation but details will no doubt reach the media soon.

Medical screening needs to be a vital part of football and stricter rules clearly need to be applied. With Remy failing a medical with one club but signing for another, Muamba dying for 78 minutes and Tiote passing away after training just being some of the most recent examples, football is about to be rocked in a massive, massive way.
Kristian Webb
A Manchester United fan who actually knows where Manchester is; I'm the chief writer for AccumulatorTips, ForzaSwansea and a contributor to WhatCulture's video game section. I'm a professional proofreader, content author and SEO Expert but that doesn't mean there won't be the odd grammatical error!

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