Some local players registered under Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB) are set to benefit from the latest move by the International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPRO) to combat cases of cardiac arrest on players.

It was announced on Wednesday that, FIFPRO, and IDOVEN, a pioneering health tech company advancing early detection of cardiovascular disease, have launched a strategic partnership to improve player health safeguards against cardiac arrest and other heart-related risks.

The FIFPRO, IDOVEN Player Heart Monitoring Service pilot programme will provide players with a complimentary resource to perform voluntary heart monitoring. The initiative will provide a health service for men and women players who do not have access to heart monitoring and screening services. The pilot programme will initially run for one season with the option to be extended.

According to FUB Secretary General and also deputy secretary of FIFPRO Africa, Kgosana Masaseng, 18 local players have already registered to participate in the pilot program.

“We have nine (9) males and 9 female players participating. If this becomes successful, it will mean we get more players to be involved, an eventually get the league to make it mandatory for all players in the league so that we monitor players’ health a lot better,” Masaseng shared. FIFPRO officials have reiterated that the health and wellbeing of players is of paramount importance and the forward-thinking partnership will increase player access to cardiac monitoring.

Back in 2017, former Township Rollers attacker Gofaone Tiro collapsed and passed on during training following reported heart failure.

Just recently, local sporting fraternity was reeling in shock after news broke about the tragic passing of a 15-year-old Mexican Girls Football Club player.

The young girl reportedly passed on after collapsing during training and she was certified dead upon arrival in hospital in what is suspected to be another cardiac arrest.

For a start, FIFPRO have revealed that they will provide the heart monitoring service to 15 national player unions, with each participating union given devices to distribute to at least 18 players. FIFRO further reported that, over a period of 24 hours, players will wear heart monitoring equipment when performing daily activities.

The more beats that are recorded, the more data that is collected, which will then be analyzed by IDOVEN’s artificial intelligence technology and its network of cardiology experts. Results will then be shared with the player and there has been guarantees that confidentiality of the results will be highly maintained, adding that, no personal medical records will be shared with any football stakeholder.