Berlin – This Monday it was two weeks ago: André Meyer, the coach of the regional soccer division Berliner AK, told this newspaper before the cup game against the Füchse that he hoped he wouldn’t have to see any of his players collapse. On Friday evening, shortly after the final whistle of the regional league game at Carl Zeiss Jena, his defender Kwabe Schulz hyperventilated. He slumped in the square. Second blackout.
Jena’s team doctor rushed over, the paramedics: a circulatory collapse. In the catacombs, Schulz was given oxygen and his heart rate was monitored, says Meyer. He stayed by the 23-year-old’s side. Just as Meyer was about to go back to his own cabin, he heard excited shouts: “André, André, we have a second player.”
The shock at the BAK is deep
Ugur Tezel was lying on the massage table, trembling, says BAK President Ebubekir Han. The next collapse. The 24-year-old Tezel was also cared for by Jena’s team doctor and paramedics. Both BAK players traveled back to Berlin in the team bus late in the evening at their own risk. Her heart rate was checked while she was driving. Both survived the night well and both were emotionally stable again the next day, says Meyer. “But of course that did something to all of us.”
The shock is deep. Schulz and Tezel were among the BAK players who suffered from corona. In a kind of chain reaction, 13 players from the club were infected with Covid-19 at the beginning of November, and others were in quarantine as contact persons. According to the emergency doctors, there was “an immediate connection” with the collapses, says Meyer. One day after the quarantine ended for a large part, the BAK had to play the Füchse in the quarter-finals of the Berlin Cup on November 23. It was the first of four competitive games within eleven days, including the league top game against BFC Dynamo.
Meyer, 37, had already seen the risk for his players before the cup game, called for cardiological examinations and criticized the game plan of the Northeast German Football Association (NOVF), which leaves far too few gaps for corona incidents and the pressure on the players to meet deadlines unsubscribe. “Regardless of Corona, what we had to do in the last twelve days is not feasible at the same level even without illness,” Meyer repeated on Sunday. “Being registered healthy by the health department doesn’t mean that the players are ready to do competitive sport.”
The difference to other seasons, in which every coach has to reckon with one or two flu-sick players and can bring them back to the team with targeted training, was the whole core of the first team at the BAK. President Han says he agrees with Meyer. But he also understands the tight deadlines of the NOVF, which must be based on the broadcasting media such as Ostsport TV or MDR: “They want to play as many games as possible before there is a Corona break. However, this means that the players take the risk. ”At the beginning of the pandemic, the association was even more sensitive to the Corona issue. “Now everything is being beaten through,” is Meyer’s impression: “When the TV revenues decide whether players have to go on the field, then I find it brutally borderline.”
Trainer André Meyer calls for an open discussion
And the cardiological examinations, were there any of the BAK players? “When they came out of quarantine on November 22nd, we were directed to see a cardiologist,” said President Han. “It was a clear expectation from me that there would be a cardiological examination for the players,” says coach Meyer. “It is the association’s task to take responsibility for its employees. And it is the association’s task to issue the relevant regulation. The association must create the framework conditions to protect the players from themselves. The fact is – in the end it didn’t happen. “
Other, more professional clubs such as Jena have a team doctor. The BAK has a cooperation with a physio practice including an orthopedic surgeon, but no employed team doctor. “Other clubs have different requirements, amateur clubs cannot do that,” says Meyer, “but in the end I stand there and scrape my players off the floor.”
Questions, fears, doubts remain for him, the collapsed players and those who saw their comrades suffer. “The situation is not discussed openly, and the grassroots are not listened to. I would like an open discussion, ”says Meyer. “And I think that many clubs are in the same situation as we are.”