THE Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) is intensifying precautionary measures to avoid incidents that might result in death among players of the league.
Cesafi Commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy Jr. told Sun.Star Cebu that the no-ECG, no-play policy is still in effect this season. However, aside from the medical requirements, an additional requirement for all players, coaches, referees and staff will be adopted starting this year.
“There is still the ECG requirement for all players. But I think all players and coaches should undergo CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training, just like what we did last year. We will do it again this month. As (benefit) of that training, a player may administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, heart pumping, etc., that could provide temporary relief, before the hospital. That is the reason too, why all players in basketball, football and volleyball will submit ECG before they are allowed to play,” Tiukinhoy said.
Last Sunday afternoon, Blackwater Elite player Gilbert Bulawan collapsed during the team practice and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“It’s a Sudden Cardiac Death probably a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a common cause of sudden cardiac death). That’s why at Cesafi, we screen our players with an ECG. We are also scheduling for a Basic Life Support (BLS) training for all players, coaches, referees and staff, because the initial response of those who witnessed the collapse will spell out the difference between surviving and dying. Immediate CPR should be started even before medical personnel arrive at the scene of the collapse. That’s why knowledge of BLS is necessary,” Dr. Rhoel Dejano, a rehabilitation medicine and sports conditioning specialist said.
According to Dejano, Cesafi is the only league in the Philippines that requires players a full medical check-up, ECG and BLS seminar before given the go signal to play.
“Well, it’s better safe than sorry. We are the only league in the country to do this,” Dejano said.
While players around PBA offered their prayers and condolences online to the grieving family of Bulawan, 4fourtime PBA MVP and PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez said he was surprised with what happened to the Elite forward.
Prime of his life
“We’ll wait for the results of the autopsy. But I believe it is already a standard operation procedure that before the start of every season, a player has to undergo a medical check-up as required by the Games and Amusement Board before you are given a license (to play as a professional player). Pero kahibudngan kaayo no, he is in a good condition, shape and because he is a player and he is young and accordingly, he shows no signs of illness or whatsoever. I just can’t place it wether that was a genetics problem or complication. We’ll just wait for the autopsy report,” Fernandez told Sun.Star Cebu.
To avoid this problem, Fernandez who played for 20 years in the PBA and is still in top shape according to his annual medical check-up, has some piece of advice to athletes.
“Your foundation as a kid is important. The kind of food you eat, the environment you are living. Eat the proper nutrition, take the needed rest, stay active, train hard and don’t just drink anything. There must be a proper guidance from health nutritionists or doctor before taking any vitamins or energy drinks. Genetics also plays a big factor. If your family has a history of high blood pressure or heart problems, then you need to be guided by doctors,” Fernandez said.