LAB TESTS FIRST Gov’t doctor recommends mandatory laboratory tests for athletes

An official of the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) recommended that all student athletes who will participate in sporting competitions like the forthcoming 2019 Palarong Pambansa to be held in Davao City to undergo stringent laboratory tests before being cleared to compete.

SPMC chief of clinics Dr. Ricardo Audan said this procedure will avoid the same fate suffered by a 12-year old girl who died midway into the recent 2019 Davao Regional Athletic Association (DAVRAA) meet due to an illness that was not earlier detected.

“It has to be mandatory laboratory tests to ensure that all athletes who are coming here (for the Palarong Pambansa) are physically fit inside and out,” he said.

Audan said athletes should undergo a series of laboratory tests to ensure that the clearance will be given to them is accurate and not just because of physical appearance.

“Laboratory tests are really needed because we will not know that an athlete have heart problem or internal ailments if we just look at them physically,” he said.

Audan’s recommendations came at the heels of the death of Davao Oriental elementary volleyball player Hadia Eronico due to complications from possible dengue or pneumonia.

Eronico’s coach Joezel Mae Duro admitted in an interview with Edge Davao that she already observed her athlete to be suffering from hard cough when they arrived in the city last January 24. This prompted Duro to rest Eronico in the first two days of competitions. On the third day, Duro took Eronico to the delegation nurse after she was noticed to be coughing up blood on her sputum.

Audan said that athletes who are unwell should not be allowed to join the said sporting events because all athletes should be physically fit. The medical certificate submitted to the DepEd regional office as a requisite for all athletes reportedly was procured a month earlier owing to the deadline set. As has been the tradition, no laboratory tests are required in the procurement of medical certificates.

The SPMC chief said mere physical appearance is not reliable. He cited incidents of deaths in marathon events which involve highly-trained endurance athletes.

Audan said the City Health Office should spearhead the strict implementation of medical tests so that a similar incident will be avoided in the future.

He said the SPMC is also willing to extend assistance to the city in terms of medical check-ups to athletes before the Palarong Pambansa will start.