A delay in treatment led to the death of a 22-year-old football player,who collapsed on the pitch during a district football league match at the Bangalore Football Stadium on Friday.
D Venkatesh,a striker for the Bangalore Mars football club,fell on the ground after being introduced as a substitute in the 70th minute of the Division A game against South Western Railways. No medical assistance or an ambulance at the stadium meant 45 crucial minutes were lost as his teammates took him to a nearby hospital in an auto-rickshaw. Venkatesh was declared dead on arrival. First we though he had an epileptic fit but there was blood coming from his mouth, an eyewitness said. There was no doctor,first aid,medical facilities or an ambulance at the venue. The way the player was taken to the hospital was clumsy.
This was the second instance of a player’s death on the pitch during a major football event in Bangalore. In December 2004,Cristiano Junior,Dempo Sports Club’s Brazilian player,collapsed after colliding with Mohun Bagan’s goalkeeper during the Federation Cup semi-final at the Kanteerva Stadium. Back then as well,lack of proper medical treatment including the absence of a defibrillator in the ambulance that was sent to move him to hospital resulted in the death of the player,who had suffered a cardiac arrest.
The KSFA admitted that the lack of facilities was responsible for Venkatesh’s death. In an official statement,KFSA president AR Khaleel said the association has decided to purchase an ambulance following the incident. He also announced a compensation of Rs one lakh for the player’s family,while also constituting an internal inquiry.
Venkatesh hailed from the Gowthampura region of Bangalore,which is considered a nursery for local football. After hearing the news,enraged fans went on a rampage,and the Super Division match between the Army Service Corps and the Aeronautical Development Establishment at the same venue had to be called off.