PFA HAPPY WITH RECORD ON SCREENING
Professional Footballers Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has revealed his organisation has spent around £7million over the last 20 years on screening professional footballers for heart defects.
The deaths of Terry Yorath's son Daniel, a promising 15-year-old who had just signed schoolboy forms with Leeds, and Everton youth-team player Jack Marshall, triggered a policy of far more stringent tests to ensure such incidents never happened again.
Yet, in the wake of the cardiac arrest Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered at Tottenham on Saturday, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has spoken of his concern about the medical procedures used in the Premier League and his belief that they are inferior to those in Italy's Serie A.
Taylor is willing to try and discover whether there are further lessons to be learned.
"We are advised by cardiologists and for the last 20 years we have spent £350,000 a year on screening players," said Taylor.
"For obvious reasons, in the immediate aftermath of Saturday night, we checked Fabrice's records and he had been screened four times.
"What they have in Italy is government-funded. In England the PFA does it.
"The truth is even if you screened someone every three months, there may be some things that wouldn't get picked up."
Taylor did point out that, as manager, Mancini had it within his power to order additional screenings if required.
And, given City's head of sports' medicine Phil Batty has been chairman of the Premier League Doctors' Association since 2007, Mancini has been perfectly placed to get his concerns addressed on a wider level.
"We will assess what we can improve on as a matter of course but it would also be wrong not to acknowledge what went right on Saturday," said Taylor.
"From the medical staff on the scene to the transference to hospital, the treatment Fabrice received was first-class.
"Without that we would have been fearful of what might have happened."
However, John Hartson backed up Mancini's concerns on how stringent the medicals are.
The former Wales international, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer which had spread to his brain in 2009, said: "I was carrying cancer around for about eight years and had signed for two or three clubs.
"From my experience it was a basic scan of the general bones of your body - and they look at your previous training regime and if you have played games.
"They scan your ankles, knees and hips but they don't go anywhere near the brain and don't give you a CT scan which will pick up and detect things."
Hartson responded well to chemotherapy and now campaigns to increase cancer awareness, while working as a pundit.
The 36-year-old added on BBC Radio 5Live: "A CT scan could potentially track something which would prevent a player getting a serious illness."
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