Italian soccer player dies on the pitch

Posted on: April 19, 2012

Pescara, Italy – Italian soccer player Piermario Morosini died of cardiac arrest during a game on April 14, just a few weeks after Fabrice Muamba survived an apparently similar sudden cardiac arrest during a match in London.

Morosini, a 25-year-old midfielder for Livono, collapsed about half hour into his team’s Serie B match at Pescara [1]. Responders at the stadium tried to revive Morosini with an external defibrillator, but Dr Edoardo de Blasio, a cardiologist at Pescara’s Santo Spirito hospital, told newspapers that Morosini was already dead when he arrived at the hospital. An autopsy is under way.

According to several media reports, the ambulance’s arrival on the scene was delayed by three minutes outside the stadium because a city police car was parked in front of the emergency passageway. Stadium stewards broke the car’s window, put it in neutral, and pushed it out of the way, according to the Guardian [2]. Pescara’s mayor, Luigi Albore Mascia, announced an investigation into why the ambulance was delayed. Federal police were brought in to patrol Pescara on Saturday night for fear that fans would take out their anger on the local police, municipal police commander Carlo Maggitti said.

Italy is known in the cardiology community for having an especially aggressive approach to screening athletes for potentially dangerous cardiac conditions, but this tragedy led Italian sports minister Piero Gnudi to say his ministry will investigate how athlete screening can be improved. He also plans to launch an inquiry into what medical equipment, such as external defibrillators, ought to be available at all professional sporting events. In addition to the Morosini and Muamba incidents, the sudden death among athletes is also getting a lot of public attention in Italy right now because former Italian volleyball Olympian Vigor Bovolenta died of cardiac arrest during a professional match on March 24. He was 37.

As reported by heartwire, Muamba was saved by quick action by stadium emergency personnel and a cardiologist who came out of the stands. Multiple media report that Muamba has just been discharged from the London hospital where he was treated and will continue his recovery closer to his home near Manchester. He has been implanted with an ICD and hopes to play again.

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