A FIFA Medical Emergency Bag (FMEB), which was issued to all 209 Member Associations in June, has been credited in helping to save the life of Afghanistan defender Farzad Ghulam, who suffered a minor cardiac arrest in a SAFF Championship semi-final in Nepal.
In the 67th minute of the match at the Dasarath Stadium, Ghulam went up for an aerial challenge with Nepal's Bharat Khawas before collapsing on the turf. It quickly became apparent that the injury was more seriously then was initially anticipated. Within seconds his team-mates were frantically pointing at the bench for urgent medical assistance.
Less than a minute after the player's collapse, competition doctor Dr. Binmra Bista was on the scene with the FMEB. He used the FIFA-supplied automated external defibrillator (AED) as well as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to successfully revive the player who was then taken to hospital in an ambulance. A series of tests were carried out on the player, which came back all clear.
Following the match, the quick-thinking Dr. Bista thanked FIFA for supplying the FMEB, especially the AED. This portable device can immediately diagnose suspected heart problems and defibrillation can be initiated if the heartbeat appears weak, irregular or has stopped altogether.
The FMEB has been designed by international experts in Emergency Medicine under the leadership of Professor Efraim Kramer (South Africa) and Professor Jiri Dvorak, FIFA's Chief Medical Officer. The content of the bag has all the necessary medical equipment to secure life for at least 60 minutes before hospital admission.
"This event confirms that FIFA is on the right track with the move to provide all MAs with the FMEB and the educational material. Dr. Bista proved that it works" said Prof Dvorak.
Pitch-side medics and first responders such as Dr. Bista have been trained to use the life-saving technology. “Global use of defibrillators is one of the highest priorities for FIFA in our battle to prevent sudden cardiac death on the pitch”, explained Michel d'Hooghe, Chairman of the FIFA Medical Committee.