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Dr. Gay preaches health check-ups for athletes

Sports Scope
FRED STURRUP
Guardian Columnist/Sales Executive

Published: Apr 27, 2012

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Beyond everything else that his extended resume speaks to, Dr. Norman Gay is most passionate these days, about athletes getting regular health check-ups. This is certainly what he wants for all and sundry, but the good doctor harbors a deep concern for athletes.

Many athletes think regular competition translates into excellent health. Dr. Gay is about as well-rounded an individual as one could find anywhere. He was a versatile athlete who starred in college, regionally and locally in volleyball, baseball, softball and body building. Dr. Gay, near the end of his competitive days, also became one of the nation's best ever sports administrators.

He was a successful politician. Dr. Gay is the anti-aging master, known the world over for his methods and advocating that lives could last much longer. He preaches health care. Dr. Gay would tell all who wish to listen about the numerous health issues that don't surface for long periods. One day, an athlete simply blacks out during competition and dies. Here in The Bahamas we've seen loved ones, dear friends and sports colleagues go out that way.

We read and hear about such incidents throughout the world, often. Yet, it has seemed that the tragedies never really hit home. There would be periods of mourning and expressed awareness by athletes, but soon thereafter, the back to business as usual mindset prevailed. The usual nonchalance regarding health check-ups would become the norm, particularly in our country, according to Dr. Gay.

The athletes who can afford to do so, pop expensive substances, "legal" and sometimes "illegal" with little care to what the negative results could be. Then, there are those who insist they can't pay for the regular check-ups, or don't have the time for them. Dr. Gay and his peers lament the situation constantly.

I believe though, in a very strange way, Dr. Gay's preaching will not fall on so many deaf ears any more. The sports world has been focused on Fabrice Muamba, the midfielder who collapsed and died on March 17 during a soccer game between his team Bolton Wanders and Tottenham in England.

For a full 78 minutes, he was dead, according to doctors. Then, miraculously his life came back. A month later he is out, walking around and talking about his "death" experience. I make no case that Muamba (age 24) was a tragedy waiting to happen. I do not know his health history. Whatever the case however a message has been sent out across the globe to athletes.

It is in their heads now that even a healthy-looking young soccer star could drop dead during competition. I was in London when Muamba went public about his recovery. It was a big topic, rivalling political, economic and other prime stories.

Health check-ups are important. Muamba came back to life. God only, knows the reason or reasons. It is certain though, more and more athletes will start paying greater attention to whether there is anything abnormal going on, no matter how small.

(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com)

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