Game can learn from Fabrice Muamba incident, says Arsenal supremo

Football will learn lessons from ex-Gunner’s misfortune, believes Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger believes that Fabrice Muamba’s heart attack at White Hart Lane last weekend could help to change football for the better.

The 23-year-old former Gunner is recovering well in hospital five days after suffering a cardiac arrest playing for Bolton against Spurs in the FA Cup quarter-final.

And while Wenger reiterated that the medical procedures at Arsenal and other Premier League clubs do include regular heart screenings, he admitted they can always improve and learn from incidents like Saturday.

“We try to do the medicals as well as we can and I think the other clubs like Birmingham and Bolton did that as well,” said Wenger.

“It is too early to ask whether it is a lack of control, does football need to go in deeper with research or deeper in control with heart problems to stop these kind of situations?

“If it is preventable – at the moment nobody has given us any answer but that is what you are waiting for. Our medical team tell me that there is constant ongoing research in this area and that it must continue.

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“He [Muamba] had regular screens everywhere; here, at Birmingham and at Bolton as well. I am not a specialist enough in medicine to say is the screening enough for the kind of problem that he had.

“It raises a few questions but you need to be better informed on what happened to him to see if the players need deeper analysis of heart problems.

“You can always learn something out of these situations and that is maybe what we can learn out of it.”

Arsenal’s players and staff have paid tribute to Muamba this week, with his former academy colleague and close friend Johan Djourou among those who visited the London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green.

Wenger said that the thoughts of Arsenal’s staff were with the player who first joined the club’s youth academy as a 12-year-old and signed professional terms in 2005 before leaving for Birmingham City in 2007 after playing just two first-team games.

“He is a loved guy. Because we have a young team, many of them grew up with Fabrice and there was a strong link when you fight together in the youth teams because it creates a special bond. The players were quite low earlier in the week but now it is a bit better because we have good news about him.

“I have not personally been in contact with him but through Bolton we have been in contact. His very close friends have gone to hospital and you want to respect that it is not overcrowded there.

“Everybody has a bit of relief today but let’s not maybe go too quickly overboard and think he is completely out of it.”