No lessons learnt from Cristiano death

No lessons learnt from Cristiano death

Lack of medical facilities glaring as another player succumbs on field

Eight years after Cristiano Junior’s tragic death at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, another death has occurred on the field to haunt footballing authorities in the State.

It was in the final of the Federation Cup on December 5, 2004 that Dempo Sports Club’s Brazilian forward Cristiano collided with Mohun Bagan’s goalkeeper Subrata Pal and crashed to his death, stunning the football fans around the country.

Lack of medical facilities at the venue came into sharp focus following that incident and subsequently, ambulances became a fixture at national level tournaments. Even in the Bangalore league, players have had close shaves with death, prompting the officials to improve the medical facilities. But it didn’t take long for slackness to creep in, with ambulances making a quiet exit from the Bangalore Football Stadium.

As such, Tuesday’s incident was a tragedy waiting to happen.

Around the world, deaths or near-deaths on the field in recent times have shaken officials from their slumber, forcing them to improve medical facilities at the venues. In the English Premier League in 2006, Chelsea goalkeeper Peter Cech suffered a serious injury and had to wait for almost half-an-hour in the dressing room before an ambulance arrived.

The scathing crticisim that followed led to a review of the medical facilities at the ground, ensuring that an injured player got swift attention. The Fabrice Muamba incident last Saturday — when the Bolton Wanderers players collapsed suddenly during the match against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup — showed the impact of that change and might just have prevented another death on the field. Despite that, the EPL authorities have announced a further review of the procedures, showing how concerned they are about the health of the players.

In stark contrast, the officials here have remained oblivious to the players’ needs, with not even basic facilities being provided at the venue.

Shockingly, top officials of the Banglaore District Football Association were missing at the stadium after the incident. Karnataka State Football Association secretary Krishna Narayana did rush to the venue soon after, but he couldn’t offer any explanation as to why there was no proper medical facilities at the venue. “The league started only yesterday. They certainly will make arrangements,” he said. When is the question, as another life gets snuffed out on the pitch.

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