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Why NPFL clubs lack professional medical experts, by Bojuwoye

Related

• Cautions players  on unhealthy lifestyle  
• LMC clarifies position on league matches

The official doctor of Nigeria Rugby National Team (Black Stallions), Dr. Adebukola Bajuwoye, has declared  that most Nigeria Premier league club sides lack sports medicine doctors because players’ welfare are not adequately funded.

Speaking in the wake of the demise of Nasarawa United defender, Chineme Martins at the weekend during a Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) game against Katsina United, Bajuwoye said if Nigerian clubs gave much priority to players’ health, their chances of surviving unforeseen occurrences on and off the pitch would be high.

The medical practitioner noted that in the English Premier League, the clubs paid keen attention to the health status of their players because that is the only way they would be productive on the pitch.

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On Martins’ death, Bajuwoye said the defender would have survived if the proper facilities were at the stadium during the incident.

He advised the League Management Company (LMC) to ensure that a medical assessor, who should be a qualified doctor in sports medicine, is stationed at every league venue to inspect facilities on ground a day before the kick off of every league game and during the match.

“Most clubs in Nigeria are battling with issues of poor funding and cannot afford to pay doctors well to watch over their players.

“Providing modern health facilities to  take care of sports stars and footballers is another issue.

“In advanced climes like the England, clubs hire the best doctors to take care of their players with quality facilities.

“Death sometimes can be avoidable when a player collapses on the pitch. In the case of late Cameroun player, Mark Vivien Foe, ex Nigerian star, Samuel Okparaji, they were dead before the  team doctor got to the pitch.

“In this case, a doctor can only try to revive the player. But if a sports doctor got to the player when he is still alive, there are chances of the player surviving. Ambulances are always ready to take the footballer to the hospital, as happened in the case of Fabrice Muamba in England.”

He said that a match commissioner is not professionally qualified to inspect health facilities at the stadium, adding that professional medical practitioners should be deployed to do so..

Bojuwoye also called on NPFL players to change their life style and abstain from substances that could affect their health.

“Some of these players engage in lifestyles that are not good for their health. Some of these players take drugs to boost their sex performance, some drink and smoke a lot, take drugs to enhance their performance on the pitch and also don’t eat the right food… all these affect the entire system of the players.

“That is why it is important for clubs to do normal routine check up on their players every season, monitor their health status before and after every game.

“This most be done by a qualified professional doctor. Health of players is very important,”

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Meanwhile, the LMC has directed NPFL clubs to ignore speculations in the media suggesting that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has ordered the suspension of the league.

LMC Chairman, Shehu Dikko clarified on Tuesday that the statement by the NFF on it’s Twitter account was very unambiguous that Match Commissioners and host state Football Associations must ensure that all medical requirements, including equipment and personnel must be in place before starting a particular game.

Dikko reproduced the NFF statement on the late Martins, saying, “The above statement does not translate to a blanket suspension of the league but not to allow a game to start at any venue that is in breach.”

“While the incident in Lafia remains unfortunate, it needs be stated that Match Commissioners are always armed with a checklist of pre-match requirements covering security, state of changing room and pitches as well as the medicals. What is in place now is stricter enforcement of the requirements.” 

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