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Heart screenings of all Scottish footballers could be compulsory as early as next season.

O'Donnell collapsed during the 5-3 win over Dundee United

BBC Scotland has learned the SFA's medical committee has been discussing testing for some time but it appears it could now go through.

Annual screening takes place in Italy but there is no obligation in Scotland.

It is unclear whether such testing could have helped save the Motherwell captain Phil O'Donnell, who died of heart failure on Saturday.

O'Donnell, 35, collapsed during Motherwell's 5-3 victory over Dundee United at Fir Park.

The SFA's medical consultant Professor Stewart Hillis said that compulsory screening was something the association had advocated for some time.

This is something that would be rolled out across the board and not just for elite players

SFA medical consultant
Prof Stewart Hillis

"Some clubs already undertake a certain amount of screening but this would help regulate it," he said.

"This is something that would have to be rolled out across the board and not just for elite players.

"I have approached the Scottish Executive about this in the past and I will be looking to speak to them again in the near future.

"If we are telling our youngsters to get out and exercise then let's make sure we are not putting them at risk."

O'Donnell is not the first footballer to have died of heart problems in recent years.

Marc-Vivien Foe collapsed and died during a match in 2003

Spanish international defender Antonio Puerta, 22, died earlier this season after collapsing while playing for Sevilla, and 16-year-old Walsall youth player Anton Reid collapsed and died during a training session in October.

In 2003, Cameroon international and former West Ham midfielder Marc Vivien-Foe died after collapsing during his country's Confederations Cup match with Colombia in France.

Hearts midfielder Neil McCann said he would be in favour of compulsory screenings.

"If we can do something medically, then there's no reason why we shouldn't have tests," said McCann.

"If it can help eradicate this sort of problem from professional football then I'm all for it."


Good idea imo.......try stop these tragic things from happening again.
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