Traditionally, Africans go to the bush, witch-doctors and voodoo practitioners in the hope of trying to influence football results or even careers. What is prescribed as drink, exposure to the dark side of life in the jungle, the muti carried around the wrists, neck or waist or kept in the closets, is it of any effect?
Further questions regarding the chemical compositions and scientific quantities or doses of such needs to be answered. The bottom line is that life has not seen the last of these and whether there is a direct influence of such practices to start with, is anyone's guess.
The football players collapsed suddenly without warning, their heart stopped beating (no pulse) as blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs and there was no breathing detected within seconds. Efforts to resuscitate extended to outside the field, in some cases, for days.
The recent death of Cheik Tiote who collapsed at the training session of Chinese Beijing Enterprises, became an unpleasant reminder of tragic losses of life in different professional athletes at the top of their game. No autopsies have been made public due to the deserved privacy of the families.
To turn football fixtures to their favour, top professional football/soccer players, exert themselves to maximum limits their bodies can take, to be in shape for optimal performance. We look at the whole picture trying to get some answers and advise young players.
They exercise and train to build and maintain their muscles, and promotes healthy functions of organs through improved and increased capacity of cardio vascular (blood), pulmonary (oxygen) and cardio-pulmonary (blood and oxygen) systems.
The heart pumps bloods with oxygen and nutrients from the heart to the other parts and organs of the body as fuel for all activities. It also helps circulate carbon dioxide and all used material after burning fuel back to kidneys, liver and lungs. Exercise makes the heart stronger and to pump more volume of blood. It also increase lung capacity to transport more oxygen to the body muscles.
Extreme exertion in order to improve performance, playing capability, positive results without enough rest, healthy diet and ignoring certain signs can be detrimental and fatal. Coaches must be well trained to know the terms and principles of loading.
Deaths to footballers or soccer players has been a result of physical contact - players colliding with team-mates, opponents, struck by the upright posts or the cross bar collapsing on them as well as being struck by hurled by objects from fans. There has been cases of being struck by lightning too.
The causes of sudden collapse are related to the heart. Medically, to simplify things, this could be a result of either a heart attack or heart failure, and these two are not the same.The cardiac arrest is an electrical issue of the heart and heart attack as the plumbing aspect.
In many African and other third-world players who grew up very poor and beginning to live a dream life, the tendency to over indulge is real. Either is illegal substance abuse or simply spoiling oneself, there is no limits what fat cheques can do. This includes innocent gobbling of junk foods that do not auger well with extensive physical loading.
For heart attacks, there is blockage or restriction of blood flow (usually by cholesterol build up) somewhere in the system where the blood flows and then the heart portion that needs that blood supply will get damaged.
For cardiac arrest, the pumping (heartbeat) is disturbed by becoming faster than it should, erratic (no proper rhythm) or stopped completely (load shedding). The heart muscles get confused and fail to pump due to interrupted signals and performance.
One of the main reasons of sudden deaths in an African society is the herbs, roots, tree bark traditional penis enlargements and aphrodisiac remedies naturally found in the jungle. Whether these have extrapolated long term effect remains to be seen. However, once taken, disclosure to modern medical doctors who prescribe medicine for everyday sickness is necessary to allay complications down the line.
Among the many possible causes, are the coronary artery disease - blocked/partially blocked or damaged arteries and and cardiomyopathy - enlarged or thick heart which finds it difficult to pump blood. It could be very weak heart muscles and also, defects of the heart from birth. This is what probably Nwanko Kanu had when he underwent a heart surgery.
The family can have a history of conditions that may lead to cardiac arrest. There is the sickle blood cells traits.The sickle hemoglobin change the shape of red cells from round to quarter-moon, or sickle shape - faulty, causing blood to carry less oxygen to the muscles. The heart muscles get damaged if they receive less oxygen than they should, especially at crucial points at crucial times.
Diagnosing is hard and symptoms are few and not very obvious.The reports of vital warning signs in retrospect for those who dropped dead include dizzy spells or passing out during performance, shortness of breath and chest pains among others.
For Africans in equatorial areas where blood bone diseases like malaria are rife, this becomes an advantage as the disease is not quickly transmitted.
Lifestyle choices that can increase risk for heart disease and heart attack include diet, which can increase cholesterol by unsaturated fats and too much salt which increase blood pressure. Too much alcohol, smoking, use of recreational drugs can put players at risk.
The issue of excessive consumption of some energy drinks cannot be overemphasized. Illegal drugs like cocaine, nyaope and all are a sure path to heart problems. The silent killer deaths affected the players who had no history of heart disease at all.
An avid reader of the www.tsendex.blogspot.com messaged e-Diski and contributed this; "Until recently, people were not diagnosed, and treatment is not readily available in Africa. Overseas, babies are diagnosed at birth", adding that she was diagnosed while pregnant. She added that monitoring of such cases was excellent. In such cases, testing must also take place after the age of 10.
Family history is very important so that genetic cases are known. In such cases, blood doping - where blood pint is removed from the player, and the player is left to recover over some days and then blood transfusion is performed on him is performed - can be an option. This procedure is currently an illegal doping exercise because the player gets far too much blood than normal, but exceptional cases have to be made.
What players and clubs can do, is to check and respect the symptoms by asking players to stop or let someone know when they experience unusual cramps, muscle weakness, and extreme fatigue prior to collapsing.
The heart's functional impairment is frequently asymptomatic until sudden cardiac death, as we have seen. Routinely testing players, usually by echocardiogram can save lives.
In conclusion, physical stress, low levels of magnesium and potassium in the body, lack of oxygen to the brain, heart and vital organs, enlarged heart due to increased blood pressure and weak heart muscles lead to heart problems.
A cardiac arrest is usually diagnosed clinically by the absence of a pulse. Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation are used to try to immediately correct the heart functionality on site. While excessive exertion can be fatal, active is always healthier.
We checked out a list of all football players who died playing football on this link:(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_association_footballers_who_died_while_playing)