thumbnail Hello, reflects on the sad demise of Venkatesh Dhanraj that is haunting the world of football as controversy surrounds with the blame being put back on the player's relatives...

There are various aspects of growth that are discussed about Indian football day in and day out, most of them on an average point out to the development of the grassroots, but the question to be raised is: Is the future secured from thereon?

In 2004 it was Cristiano Junior, Arun Kumar suffered cardiac arrest after being treated for crack in his foot last year, and in a third incidence of it's kind in Bangalore itself, 28-year-old Venkatesh succumbed to a similar fate.

With no lessons learned, no trained physicians, no ambulance and no proper medical team, it was something waiting to happen. The most unfortunate fact remains that the football authorities themselves reportedly do not want to take the responsibility.

How far are the paramedics? ...literally...

We have earlier highlighted how the who's who in England have stepped up after their mistake in dealing with Petr Cech's head injury against Reading, that recently helped save the life of Fabrice Muamba thanks to the availability of a defibrillator.

Clearly, this is not about counting the blessings of others ahead of our own but about that instance when a footballer (Venkatesh D) is robbed of his sense of security while playing the sport that keeps him alive!

Venkatesh's father explained that "there was no medical team present, nor was there a first-aid kit available on the stadium during the match" and the Bangalore Mars player had to be carried since the stretcher didn't look reliable and further taken to the hospital by an auto-rickshaw given the absence of an ambulance.

Further, the
General Secretary of the Karnataka Football Association (KFA), Krishna Narayanan claimed it was a rare occasion when a match was held without an ambulance "because there was some drainage work because of which roads were blocked."

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So much for a painful recap of taking a chance with life, the KFA President, A.R. Khaleel tried to heap the blame on Venkatesh’s relatives, as he told to that, “The relatives of the player asked the coach to put him on the field since substitutes do not get the full match fee.”

On this highly debatable topic, who takes the final call of a player's condition? Turning to developing the grassroots, any parent would not want their kid to die playing football! And God forbid anything happens to the child, would the parent be blamed of not being around or for encouraging their blood?

All the more, even the All India Football Federation (AIFF) President, Praful Patel states that
"if for some reasons, something has gone wrong we will take action," and also believes that to lay the blame on Venkatesh's demise on just the "football management" would be silly.

Joining the dots together, what does all the above imply - that Venkatesh is to blame that he chose to play football, with Patel asking "If India does not get moving in five years when is it going to move." Doesn't the loss of two lives in two years due to lack of medical attention call for a sense of urgency or that the country will progress only if we win the Club World Cup or an U-17 World Cup bid? You have gotta be kidding, right?

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Even if the last breath claimed was that of a Bangalore district league player, it had the world talking about an "unknown" life lost which was a grim reminder of the potential a cardiac arrest poses which could strike any player playing anywhere in the world.

Although this will be a forgotten discussion as time passes by, it will be left for the family of the deceased to mourn for their loss and for the ones rightly responsible to look themselves in the mirror and ask if they are not accountable - not the Rs. 1 lakh compensation! After all first aid comes first.

"What's wrong with the world, mama?" as Black Eyed Peas sing.

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At least NOW, do the football officials realise where the priority lies?


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