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17 Sep, 2021 16:00

Has football avoided another tragedy? Champions League winner Coman has heart surgery after experiencing ‘shortness of breath’

Has football avoided another tragedy? Champions League winner Coman has heart surgery after experiencing ‘shortness of breath’

Bayern Munich and France winger Kingsley Coman is recovering after having minor heart surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat issue, his club manager Julian Nagelsmann has revealed.

The 25-year-old former Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain player is expected to be out of action for just two weeks, having undergone the procedure on Thursday after doctors discovered problems with the rhythm of his heartbeat which was causing the Frenchman to experience shortness of breath.

"Kingsley Coman underwent surgery yesterday," Nagelsmann announced at a press conference on Friday. "His heartbeat rhythm had a slight disturbance with a minor added beat. At times he had a slight shortage of breath.

"That's why we opted for long-term ECG monitoring and went ahead with this procedure. He will be doing cardio training again on Tuesday and won't be out of action for any more than one and a half to two weeks."

An irregular heartbeat – or cardiac arrhythmia – is when the heart beats in an irregular pattern, usually either too fast or too slow. It can happen when there are problems with the body's ability to regulate the electronic signals which control heartbeats. 

In many occasions the condition isn't serious but can be a signal of a damaged or weak heart. 

Coman is the latest footballer to have had this type of surgery, which has also been undertaken by the likes of former Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick in the past.

While it is not yet clear if Coman's condition could be described as serious, the issue will likely prompt both the player and supporters of both Bayern Munich and France to breathe a sigh of relief, coming just three months after Denmark star Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch during a Euro 2020 fixture with Finland in Copenhagen.

On that occasion, Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest just before half-time and required the urgent assistance of pitchside medics who performed life-saving cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation on the Inter Milan player before rushing him to a nearby hospital.

Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba experienced a similar situation while playing against Tottenham Hotspur several years ago. The 23-year-old collapsed on the pitch and his heart stopped for a period of 78 minutes before he was resuscitated. He retired from the sport soon afterwards.

Others, though, haven't quite been so lucky. Former Premier League midfielder Marc Vivien Foe died while playing for Cameroon in France during the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup. An autopsy showed that he had a hereditary heart condition.

Former England and Aston Villa defender Ugo Ehiogu also died at the age of 44 after experiencing heart issues.

And while – thankfully – Coman's issue appears to have been caught before it manifested into something more serious, it is perhaps another grim reminder that even highly fit professional footballers can be subject to health concerns.

Football may well have avoided a tragedy this time, but the ever-expanding list of players who have experienced cardiac issues in recent times shows the need for vigilance.

Also on rt.com ‘In excellent shape’: Eriksen returns to Inter Milan training following Euro 2020 cardiac arrest (VIDEO)