MIKE Pollitt admits he’s not sure what more could be done to prevent tragedies such as Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba’s cardiac arrest occurring.
The veteran goalkeeper revealed the stringent nature of the cardio tests all professional footballers are subjected to – and says advancements in sports science mean it is a completely unrecognisable situation from a couple of decades ago.
“I can’t see what else they can do, to be honest,” Pollitt – a lifelong Bolton fan who still has strong ties with the club – told the Observer.
“When I started it was a completely different story – players used to drink pints all the time and eat all sorts of garbage, no-one paid much attention to diets and fitness.
“It is strange that this sort of thing never used to happen back then, because players didn’t used to look after themselves anywhere near as much as they do now. We’re in an era now where everyone is so super-fit, lifestyles are more geared to top-level sport and yet this kind of thing seems to be happening more regularly.
“Maybe it’s because the players are so fit now, and it’s putting too much strain on the heart or whatever.”
Given the regular screening of players, Pollitt finds it hard to comprehend the fact Muamba, 23, managed to slip through the net for so long.
“We all get screened, cardio-tested on the treadmill while we’re wired up, and I think that’s pretty stringent throughout all Premier League clubs these days,” he added.
“I’m sure Fabrice would have had all that but, for whatever reason, whatever’s there hasn’t been detected.
“It’s not the first time it’s happened, but you just don’t expect it to happen to someone so close, at a club down the road, in the Premier League where all the players are so fit and tested so regularly.
“I wouldn’t say he was fortunate but, if it had to happen, for it to be down there in London, on the doorstep of the best hospitals in the country, was the best place.
“It just puts everything into perspective. We were all down on Saturday because we couldn’t score a second goal, and then you hear about something like that. It’s unbelievable.”