It's a paradox that playing sports is supposed to be good for you, and yet some people die as a result of playing them, says Rob Hughes of the International Herald Tribune. Indeed, FC Sevilla's Antonio Puerta was not the first soccer player to die from cardiac arrest while playing; he wasn't even the only player this week to collapse from on-field heart complications. On Tuesday, hours after Puerta's life support system was shut down, Leicester City defender Clive Clarke collapsed in his dressing room at halftime during a Carling Cup match against Nottingham Forrest. Clarke survived, however, as paramedics were able to revive his heart.
Meanwhile, in Israel, 26-year-old Zambian Chaswe Nsofwa fell dead while training in 104 degree weather with his club, Hapoel Beersheva. And two days before Puerta's fatal collapse, Anton Reid, a first-year player with English club Walsall, collapsed and fell dead of as yet unknown causes.
Not to start a scare or anything, but these cases show that heart failure among players does occur-mostly among those with undiscovered heart problems. As a result, FIFA's chief medical officer on Wednesday called for mandatory cardiac screening throughout the sport, a measure that will likely be passed in light of the recent spate of heart attacks.