NOC official backs call for early screening of athletes

Vice President of The National Olympic Committee Neil Cochrane
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By Carlena Knight

Vice President of The National Olympic Committee (NOC) Neil Cochrane shared his support for the implementation of a health screening protocol for local athletes.

The discussion which took place on the Good Morning JoJo Sports show came on the heels of the passing of Jamaican footballer, Dashawn “Taka” Stanton, who last played for FC Aston Villa, the club at which Cochrane is the General Secretary.

He said that an initiative like this will help to ensure that the health of their athletes is at top form.

“Having been at the CFU being the General Secretary there, and having been exposed to some conferences, I remember going to a conference in Denver and they brought in the staff that prepares the national teams for the USA. So, from the trainers, doctors, physio everything; and when they went through all of the things, they do in preparing their athletes. I mean, they basically know everything about the body of each of the players. They know if somebody is iron deficient, who has blood issues, oxygen issues and the like, and so they will treat them accordingly to get them to the best possible peak; and so that is something that we have to keep on developing here. We don’t necessarily have all the technology, but I believe we do have some of the competence and the American University of Antigua can add to that,” said Cochrane.

Although it is something that Cochrane says they may not be able to implement through the NOC he is encouraging the associations to look at partnering with medical officials for such a venture.

“Well the NOC does not govern how the national associations operate or engage in these matters; we certainly could encourage, and I think again, I would be in support of any issue that relates to providing better health and safety for the athletes in the country. We have to get to that stage where we analyse the athletes and their bodies. What’s working well, what deficiencies they have, how the immune system is working and the like. Certainly, that is something that we can look forward to.”

On a school level, he also believes that it would be a great program to add. “I certainly would recommend it, and I know it would come at a cost, but it is critical, it is important that we know about the athletes, and so if we can with an entity like AUA coming on board to assist us in that regard. I don’t think the ministry or government can pay for everything and so you have to form the linkages and the synergies in the private sector that can allow for that to happen, but I think that it would be a significant feat if we had that,” Cochrane added.

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