Italian cardiologist claims there is 'insufficient monitoring' for footballers after Morosini death

Following the passing of the Livorno midfielder, Dr. Carla Manzara of San Camillo Hospital gave her take on why there has been a sudden increase in heart problems to
By Paolo Camedda

Like a bolt from the blue, the tragic death of Piermario Morosini left the football world speechless, resulting in the Italian FA (FIGC) suspending all of the weekend's fixtures in Italy as a sign of respect.

Many have wondered why so many tragic events on the football field have occurred recently, which has seen a fatality in that of the young Livorno midfielder, and one dramatic episode in the case of Bolton's Fabrice Muamba.

Speaking exclusively to after the tragedy, Dr. Carla Manzara, a cardiologist in the coronary unit of San Camillo Hospital in Rome, explained that in her eyes, it all boils down to a lack of monitoring being performed on footballers.

"The explanation is that clearly players are not monitored enough," she said. "Preventive sports medicine has not developed as expected.

"In football, there is also an abuse of substances such as proteins and supplements of various kinds, which, although not doping, with a certain genetic predisposition can be devastating.

"Finally, there is a likelihood that a share of the diseases occurred suddenly and therefore were not previously diagnosed.

"Clearly, each case should be examined separately, because they have their own peculiarities. In the case of Morosini, we must await the outcome of the autopsy."

Manzara was then quizzed on what should be done to improve the situation in the sport, and reiterated her belief that an attentive eye should be kept on an athlete's development at all times.

"Very serious diagnosis is essential," she continued. "These guys are young and grow quickly over time, their characteristics change, and so their development should be constantly monitored.

"More needs to be done in regards of prevention. Unfortunately I do not know if this is possible in football."

The doctor lastly noted the measures she feels every sportsperson should take to try and minimise the risk of cardiac problems flaring up in the future.

"Every player, to avoid risks, should have periodic electrocardiogram [ECG\EKG] tests, and regular monitoring of their blood pressure," she maintained.

"Moreover, they should also record the presence of sudden deaths in the family, or repeated heart attacks among close relatives. These could be an indicator of a predisposition for that particular athlete."