Click here to watch the full FATV interview with Ian Beasley
Following the cardiac arrest suffered by Fabrice Muamba at White Hart Lane, Ian Beasley, the England Senior Team doctor and The FA’s Head of Medical Services, spoke to FATV on Thursday to clarify the process surrounding player screenings.
“The current situation is that all players are screened at 16 years old when they enter [a club’s] Academy,” he said. “This is offered to every player. It’s funded by the PFA [who were] pretty visionary about this about 15, 16 years ago.
“The real problem with screening is that no amount of screening can detect everything, so it makes it very difficult when this sort of thing happens. But the signs of cardiac disease and inherited cardiac disease aren’t always evident on the most meticulous screen.
“The screens that Fabrice has had have been normal and I spoke to the Bolton doctor today [Thursday] and he said [Fabrice] had one in the hospital after this episode; it’s still normal, as it was in August, the last time he was screened.”
“To train or play for England you have to have a cardiac screen on file,” he continued. “The doctors for all the development teams have copies of these screens before the squad meets up. If there are any problems they get in touch with [the Medical Services department] and we either re-screen or we withdraw the player and send them back to [their] club for further tests.”
Beasley went on to praise the efforts of both the Bolton and Tottenham medical teams for their swift action before discussing an FA-run resuscitation course which every club doctor is required to take.
“We run a course called The FA AREA Course, which is a resuscitation course that all this practice is based upon,” said Beasley. “All the [doctors] in the Premier League have to have [the qualification] to sit on the bench.
“It would be great if everybody working in football could do the course and make sure they are able to resuscitate in the same way. At the moment that’s not the case [but] we educate 20-30 people at a time every two months.
“If we can make sure that every [football medic] is good at resuscitation, everyone has the best chance.”
All England teams will soon be housed at St George’s Park, The FA’s new National Football Centre which will provide a home for coach education, a training home for the 24 England teams and access to cutting-edge sports science and medicine.
“St George’s Park will be a great place to carry out the cardiac screens and to monitor players more closely,” said Beasley. “We will have the best scientific back-up there as well as help from our health partners Spire to make sure we have all the screening in place.
"We’ll have access to the players. When they are staying in hotels up and down the country we don’t have access to the facilities that we will have at St George’s Park.”