Ousmane Coulibaly, a 32-year-old defender from Al Wakrah collapsed pitch-side after suffering a cardiac arrest requiring immediate medical attention in a match against Al Rayaan on Saturday evening.
In shocking scenes during a domestic league game over the weekend, the match between Al-Wakrah and Al-Rayyan had to be abandoned after Ousmane Coulibaly collapsed at the 41st minute.
Shortly before half-time, Coulibaly lay on the ground beneath the Al-Wakrah goal post, shaking and convulsing. His teammates rushed to his aid and were shortly followed by an ambulance which took him away to hospital when it became clear the player had suffered a heart attack.
Qatar Stars League organisers have issued a statement saying that the player’s health is the most important concern at the moment.
“The Qatar Stars League wishes the player a fast recovery, and we would like to thank the medical staff of both teams, paramedics and doctors for their great efforts during such events,” said a reresentative in a press release.
With regards to the match, it will be completed at a later stage with the remaining 49 minutes payed between the two clubs, restarting the game at a 1-0 scoreline in favour of Al-Rayyan, the same score the fixture was when it was suspended.
“We don’t care about the three points, we don’t care about the match. We are only concerned now about Ousmane’s well-being and the other players,” said Al Wakrah media officer Mohamed Al Sulaiti to Al Kaas.
Al Sulaiti has confirmed that the player’s condition is improving.
Recent episodes of heart attacks unrelated to vaccine
Shortly after the incident, unsubstantiated tweets circulated falsely claiming the player’s heart-attack was caused by taking the COVID-19 booster shot.
However, Al Sulaiti rubbished those claims, saying Ousmane had not even received a third dose. He went on to add that the the player’s last vaccination was nine months ago, during which period he had played dozens of games with no issue at all.
The hysteria around creating a link between COVID-19 and heart problems was created by the uptick of football players who have had heart problems in the last 6-months (including Al Raqadi (Muscat FC), Cacic (NK Nehaj), Aguero (Barcelona), Lindelof (Manchester United), Zelinski (Napoli), Wyke (Wigan))
The sport is not new to heart attacks but tweets also cite the nine months that separated Marc-Vivien Foe’s death from a heart attack on a pitch in Lyon to Fabrice Muamba’s near-fatal collapse at Totenham and another nine that passed before Eriksen’s collapsed at the Euros. Such vaccine hesitancy sentiment has been shared by twitter users (here, here and here).
When asked by Reuters news agency, The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the British regulator for drugs and vaccines, has said there is no supporting evidence to suggest any link between COVID-19 vaccines and players collapsing on the pitch.
MHRA chief executive Dr June Raine told Reuters “The MHRA closely monitors the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines, including reports of suspected heart inflammation, myocarditis or pericarditis.
“Myocarditis or pericarditis [infllamation] remains a very rare potential risk with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and the events reported are typically mild with individuals usually recovering within a short time with standard treatment and rest. The current evidence does not suggest that sporting exercise is a contributing risk for these very rare events.
“The public’s safety is our top priority. Our advice remains that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks in the vast majority of people. It is vitally important that people come forward for their vaccination and for their booster doses when invited to do so.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) told Reuters in an email they were “not aware of published or peer-reviewed research into alleged links between the COVID vaccine and a significant increase in sudden death in athletes due to myocarditis”
Doha News wishes a speedy recovery to Ousmane Coulibaly and wishes strength and good fortune to his family.