Former Nigeria international, Kanu Nwankwo, has advocated that football players go for regular heart check-up.
Kanu, survivor of a heart disease in 1996 said this in a Sky Sports chat for the Petrolex Kanu Cup slated to hold in London, at the the Hive home ground of Barnet Football Club, on September 30.
The two time EPL winner who turned 42 on Wednesday has undergone two open heart surgeries in 1996 and 2014.
The Petrolex Kanu Cup is a football match between World football legends and African Legends who played in England to raise funds for the Kanu Heart Foundation, KHF.
The Kanu Heart Foundation was established in the year 2000 by the Arsenal legend to cater to the care of victims of heart diseases and operate on them.
“The foundation was established by me in year 2000. We have done 542 operations. We have saved 542 lives.
“We have almost 200 on the waiting list and the more we can’t raise funds for them, the more they are dying.
“Heart is not something you play around with. If it stops, that’s the end of the person.
“I look at myself and I see it. I’ve gone through it. People said that I cannot play football anymore. I stand like a hope to families that do have these problems.
“If an adult can go through this stuff, what of kids. They can’t even afford, in Africa, check-up, not even the operation itself. That’s why I established the Kanu Heart Foundation.”
Kanu, in a similar vein, advocated for three-months or quarterly heart check-up for players in order to avoid deaths on the football pitch like that of Samuel Okwaraji, Miklos Feher, Marc Vivien Foe and Cheick Tiote who died in June 2017: footballers who all died on the pitch courtesy of heart-related issues.
“We’ve seen some players dying from playing football and the questions are why can’t the medical team stop it from happening.
“We have very good medical teams now compared to then so we have to spot it and help the player who has that kind of thing,” Kanu said on SunSport.
“I want to create awareness because it is not good news seeing players die playing football.
“If there is anything we can do to minimise that or stop that, that would be great. The Medical team of every club has to be serious about this. even if it is three months or quarterly check-ups; be really hard on it that it will not occur anymore.”