Chineme Martins: Head of Nasarawa United medical team is a Community Health Assistant- NFF ad-hoc committee reports

Chineme Martins: Head of Nasarawa United medical team is a Community Health Assistant- NFF ad-hoc committee reports
July 24 23:43 2020 Print This Article

By Martin Odiete, Abuja

The ad-hoc committee set up by the Nigeria Football Federation to unravel the circumstances that led to the untimely death of Nasarawa United player, Chineme Martins during a premier league match in the Nigeria has reported among many things that the team lacks adequate medical structure compounded by the fact that the head of their medical team is a community Health Assistant.

This was contained in the report submitted to the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation just recently.

Below is part of the report as submitted by the committee and gathered by www.theajasanews.com ;

“FINDINGS, SUBMISSIONS AND EVALUATION

In line with its terms of reference, the Committee recorded the following findings and submissions: 

MEDICALS:

(1) Nasarawa Utd. F.C. does not have a club doctor and physiotherapist (on full or part-time appointment) as well as a crowd doctor, with the required qualifications and experience. This is a clear violation of Articles 12.1 and 12.2 of the NPFL Framework and Rules (2018/2019 season). 

The Head of the Medical Team who has worked with the club for over 6 years is a retired Community Health Assistant, with no qualifications or experience in Sports Medicine and BLS (Basic Life Support)/CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation). 

(2) There was no fully equipped and functional ambulance at the match venue, which is a clear violation of Article 12.7.8 of the NPFL Rules. There was no FIFA Medical Emergency Bag or Resuscitation Kit, Oxygen, AED (Automated External Defibrillator) or Emergency Drugs in the Ambulance used for the match. 

Furthermore, the ambulance failed to start when it was needed to evacuate Chineme Martins to hospital. The Nasarawa State Governor who was present at the stadium ordered a vehicle in his convoy to assist in the evacuation of the player to hospital. 

(3) It was discovered that there were no back-up medical staff in the stadium clinic to assist both teams in case of any medical emergency during the match.

(4) Arising from Nos. 1, 2 & 3 above, it is obvious that Nasarawa Utd. F.C. does not have plans on ground for the provision of emergency medical services at matches and training sessions.

(5) There was no record of contact/collision with another player or head injury prior to the incident. Indeed, it was revealed that Chineme Martins collapsed in his own half of the field (standing alone) while a free-kick was about to be taken in the away team’s half of the field. 

The incident was recorded during the extra-time of first half (45’ +)

(6) The player died before arrival at Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Lafia. The actual time of death and the time interval between the collapse and death could not be determined because the patient (player) was not accompanied by qualified medical personnel to the hospital. 

The Committee could however infer from the various interviews that the vehicle conveying the player arrived the hospital about 20 minutes after collapse on the field where he was confirmed dead on arrival. It was actually a case of B.I.D (Brought In Dead)  

(7) There was also a clear breach of Articles 12.7.5 and 12.7.6 of NPFL Rules and CAF/FIFA standards on that fateful match day because only three (3) Paramedics (Red Cross) serving as stretcher-bearers with one (1) stretcher were available. The training of these Paramedics in emergency medical services is also questionable. 

It was further revealed that the three (3) stretcher-bearers were attending to another injured player when Chineme Martins collapsed and they (stretcher-bearers) did not even notice what happened. 

It should be noted that going by CAF/FIFA standards, a minimum of four (4) stretcher-bearers (and one stretcher) is required on each half of the pitch.

(8) Even though it was revealed from the interviews that the away team (Katsina Utd. F.C.) came with their team doctor, we could not establish if the away team doctor participated in the resuscitation efforts. 

(9) The Committee could not confirm the earlier reports that Chineme Martins collapsed in a training session prior to the match. We could also not confirm the story that the player murmured the following words shortly before his collapse: “you said you will kill me, but before you kill me, I will kill you.”

(10) The required PCMA (Pre-Competition Medical Assessment) was completed and signed by an adhoc Medical Officer from the State Specialist Hospital, who confirmed the player fit despite red flags apparent from the history and examination i.e. family history of hypertension, palpitations and tachycardia at rest (Pulse rate of 104/min, but normal BP of …..).

(11) On further questioning, the ad-hoc Medical Officer  could not produce the ECG or ECHO tracings and reports respectively, to support his affirmation that the deceased was medically fit to play. No one in the team could give any account where the laboratory and specialized investigation results of the team are kept, if actually done. 

(12) The findings in Nos. 10 & 11 above cast aspersions on the authenticity of the PCMA report and the integrity of the medical officer who signed off the medical report.

(13) The above findings also confirm that Nasarawa Utd. F.C. has no medical records of its players and officials stored in any form of retrieval system.

(Note: The Medical Officer’s original copies of academic and other professional certificates were not available for sighting despite an advance notice to come along with them.) 

(14) The Nasarawa Club officials confirmed that the family of late Chineme Martins refused to give consent for post-mortem examination. 

The family had already released a burial programme indicating 10th April, 2020 as date of the burial. 

(15) Arising from Nos. 12 & 14 above, it is difficult to make a categorical statement on the actual cause of death; this conclusion is as a result of the combined absence of a reliable PCMA report and autopsy report. 

The above conclusion is further supported by the absence of qualified medical personnel who could make an on-the-spot clinical diagnosis at the scene of the incident.  

SAFETY AND SECURITY:

(1) There was crowd invasion of the pitch at the time of the incident, with everyone struggling to render medical aid; no qualified medical person(s) were in charge of the resuscitation process. The entire scenario was that of chaos and pandemonium. (This was confirmed from the oral interviews and the video clip).

(2) There was no Safety and Security Officer present at the match 

(3) There were no stewards available for crowd control at the match.

GENERAL:

(1) The failure of the host FA (Nasarawa FA) to perform its statutory functions in the provision of adequate medical services and security during the match was largely responsible for the poor management of the medical emergency that occurred at the Lafia Township Stadium on March 8, 2020. 

(2) There appears to be some confusion between the Nasarawa State FA and Nasarawa Utd. F.C, especially with regard to provision of medical services on a match day. There was buck-passing between the State FA Secretary and the Club’s Head of Medical Team as to who hired the non-functional ambulance.

At the interview with the Committee, he (FA Secretary) denied being involved in the hire of the ambulance. 

In the opinion of the Committee however, the FA Secretary was being economical with the truth. 

(3) All efforts to prevail on the FA Secretary to present the ambulance used at the match for inspection by the Committee proved abortive.

(4) The Match Commissioner, Mr. …. who handled the match clearly displayed an act of negligence for allowing the match to start despite the obvious lapses in the arrangements for medicals, safety and security.

In his report however, the Match Commissioner gave a good account of the medical emergency that occurred at the stadium.

(5) In his submission, the Head Coach of the club was of the opinion that the player was physically fit, and that the ill-fated match was the 5th consecutive match played by late Chineme Martins.

Further enquires however revealed that the coach was neither aware of the player’s past medical history nor the PCMA report of ……

Findings at Lafia Township Stadium:

(1) The general outlook clearly shows that the stadium is in dire need of renovation and up-grading in terms of basic safety and security requirements. 

(2) The stadium has only three (3) exit gates. 

(3) There is no evidence of availability of basic medical facilities such as a functional clinic or first-aid equipment. 

(4) We could not see an ambulance even though the Committee had given an earlier notice to bring in the ambulance for inspection. The claim by the club officials that there is an ambulance regularly used for matches could therefore not be verified. 

(5) The pitch (turf) is already damaged at several places and requires maintenance work, including water sprinklers.” 

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