By: Jonas N. Panerio May 27,2015 - 11:21 PM

Passing away of JRU cager in Manila raises concerns on safety in venues

With the dark cloud of the death of Jose Rizal University juniors player Carl Jimwell “CJ” Servillon during a game in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup hanging over the country’s basketball community, should there be cause for concern if an incident of that nature occurred in Cebu’s premier inter-school league, the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi)?

The 6-foot-1 Servillon, a promising talent who was set to compete in the NCAA wars for the JRU Light Bombers, passed away last Sunday just two days after collapsing in the middle of a timeout during a game versus the La Salle-Zobel.

The family of Servillon alleged that tournament organizers had been negligent in immediately bringing the young cager to the hospital, a claim that was refuted by tournament director Joey Guillermo.

“Our rescue team did everything they could. They made sure he reached the hospital alive. We understand that the family is looking for answers,” Guillermo was quoted as saying in an article on the Inquirer website.

Renowned rehabilitation medicine specialist Dr. Rhoel Dejano, arguably Cebu’s finest sports medicine practitioner and the head of the medical team that is present during the Cesafi games, gave his take on the matter.

“There is such a thing as pre-participation medical evaluation. Participating athletes should be screened by doctors experienced on such matter. Most of these sudden deaths in healthy athletes is usually cardiac in origin. That’s why I would suggest an electrocardiogram be taken on all participating athletes so as to detect certain abnormalities cardiac wise,” said Dejano in an exclusive interview with Cebu Daily News.

Asked outright if he and his team are capable of handling such an incident if and should it happen, Dejano said he wasn’t looking forward to it but expressed full confidence in his team’s capabilities.

“So far in the more than 12 years I have been with the Cesafi, I praise God I have not encountered incidents like these and I wish it will remain that way. If it happens, the critical thing will be the immediate response after the incident. The time for resuscitation to commence is very crucial. So it is imperative that the medical personnel in attendance be familiar with conditions affecting a ‘collapsed athlete.’ Basic life support is important that’s why maybe I would suggest that even the staff, not only us the medical people involved with Cesafi be BLS(Basic Life Support)-certified. But again, I will still go for prevention. Everyone involved, especially the players and the coaches, have to be aware that such conditions do happen,” shared Dejano.

Meanwhile, Cesafi commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy said the league is indeed equipped to handle such situations.

“We have the ERUF (Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation) on standby. And the St. Vincent General Hospital is a mere five minutes away. So yes, we’re ready for these things,” said the league’s long-time leader.

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