Agent of a late Cameroonian footballer Patrick Ekeng, Hasan Anil Eken has urged FIFA to train all players and coaches in how to treat sudden cardiac arrest victims.
Eken witnessed his client lose his life under similar circumstances last year, and after spell of the same occurrences to two Ivorian footballers with suspected heart issues – Cheick Tiote and Eugene Kouame, the agent believes training could save lives.
“Football players are the ones who are closest to (each other) – timing is important,” Eken revealed in his letter to FIFA.
“The education to football professionals can be done twice a year to improve (their) confidence.”
Cameroonian Ekeng was playing for Dinamo Bucharest in Romania when he died in May 2016 . The ambulance that treated him had no defibrillator.
Video evidence showed that Ekeng was still in the insufficiently-equipped ambulance on the pitch two minutes and 45 seconds after he collapsed, prior to being taken to hospital.
Eken suggests players need to be knowledgeable and confident to offer help in time before the worst happens.
Since Eken’s client died, BBC reports that “at least nine players – seven of whom are African – have died from heart-related issues. ”