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TURKEY > Player's death raises old questions

ESKİŞEHİR

A 26-year-old footballer, Eskişehirspor’s Ediz Bahtiyaroğlu, dies in his home due to heart attack, propmting questions on the monitoring of athletes health. ‘Amateur and professional athletes should be monitored more carefully,’ says an expert as the Turkish football community mourn the death of a successful player

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A ceremony was held yesterday for Eskişehirspor defender Ediz Bahtiyaroğlu in the central Anatolian province, before the 26-year-old was laid to rest in Bursa.

A ceremony was held yesterday for Eskişehirspor defender Ediz Bahtiyaroğlu in the central Anatolian province, before the 26-year-old was laid to rest in Bursa.

Eskişehirspor player Ediz Bahtiyaroğlu, who died after suffering a heart attack in his home in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir, was laid to rest yesterday as his death fueled a debate over the health of athletes.

Eskişehirspor club doctor Mehmet Ali Armağan said Bahtiyaroğlu neither smoked nor drank alcohol.
“He had not gone through heavy training or anything,” Armağan said after the player’s autopsy. An initial report following the autopsy suggested the young man died of a heart attack with no signs of drugs in the body, Doğan news agency reported.

A ceremony was held in Eskişehir for Bahtiyaroğlu before his remains were sent to Bursa to be laid to rest. The 26-year-old player had finished his training routine at the club’s facilities at around 7:30 p.m. and collapsed later in the night, prompting his housemate to call emergency services. Paramedics arrived at the scene and found the young athlete suffering a heart attack. Bahtiyaroğlu could not be saved despite the first responder’s efforts.

The young defender’s death has fueled debate over the health conditions of professional athletes and the medical tests they go through. Prof. Emin Ergen, head of the Turkish National Olympic Committee’s (TMOK) medical board, told Anatolia news agency yesterday that checkups should be applied in a wide range starting with amateur athletes.

Ergen noted that heart problems that lead to athletes’ deaths are hard to detect. “Unfortunately, this is not the first case and it will not be the last,” Ergen said, adding that detailed and special tests are needed to diagnose such heart problems.

Careful monitoring

“Every athlete in Turkey goes through routine medical tests, but these tests do not include detailed tests on the heart,” he said. “That’s why genetic heart problems usually go unnoticed. Amateur and professional athletes should be monitored more carefully, I don’t believe that we have a good medical scanning system yet.”

Speaking at the ceremony held in Eskişehir yesterday, Eskişehirspor President Halil Ünal said the club had lost a “very special” player. “Ediz was an honest and hardworking person,” Ünal said. “For us, Ediz is not dead. We will always remember him.”

Spor Toto Super League clubs and the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) released messages of condolences yesterday.

Bahtiyaroğlu began playing football on the Bursaspor youth team then played for Ankaraspor, Bucaspor and Ankaragücü in the country’s top league. He was in his second year of a 2.5-year contract with Eskişehirspor.

September/06/2012

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