Fri | Mar 5, 2021

We still lack proper heart screening – Mansingh

Published:Tuesday | February 12, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Sports physician Dr Akshai Mansingh says he is dissatisfied with the quality of pre-participation examination (PPE), or heart screening tests, administered to athletes at all levels locally before they enter competition.

His comments were made regarding national 5,000m record holder Kemoy Campbell’s collapse at the Millrose Games in New York on Saturday. Campbell, who was being used to set the pace of the men’s 5,000m race on the day, went off track and collapsed and received medical attention, including the use of an automated external defibrillator, before being taken to a nearby hospital. The incident at trackside transpired for roughly 30 minutes. But Mansingh said although he is unsure whether Campbell received proper screening, or any at all, before competition, the incident should serve as a warning to both athletes and medical personnel about the importance of PPEs before they take part in various sporting activities.

“I can’t, off the bat, say that he wasn’t screened, but in general, I think we still lack the level of screening we should have for our athletes,” he said. “I think as a blanket statement, we know that all athletes should be screened in Jamaica and we know that they are not being screened: A. At all; B. By proper personnel.

“We see all too often where they just appear in competition, even up to the highest level and have had no screening, or that they go to somebody that’s not specialised in sports and will get a screening. That would be a so-called ‘general check-up,’ but may not be looking at specific things in regards to the heart. Having said that, having done the best screening in the world, it minimising the chances. It doesn’t completely eliminate the chances of somebody collapsing.”

Mansingh, who said that his initial reaction to news of Campbell’s incident was grief and horror, said that not because an athlete appearing, at face value, to be in peak condition, does not mean that he or she actually is.

“All too often we hear about athletes who are collapsing suddenly. When you think they’re in the peak of fitness it’s even more horrifying, but to see it played out each time just sends a chill down your spine.”