Barcelona have released an official statement saying that Neymar has anaemia. For a clear understanding of the illness, and how it can affect his career, we have spoken to the editor of Cricketsoccer, Faisal Caesar, who is also a doctor by profession and practices Medicine. Faisal has shared his worthwhile insightful thoughts regarding the matter………

Recent medical investigations have shown that the Brazilian sensation has a low blood haemoglobin level, but the club has released a statement saying that they aren’t worried with this issue, and they are hopeful that it should not affect his career. Although anaemia is a very treatable illness, and there are many different types of standard medications available but after the sad ends of Piermario Morosini, Darius Venkatesh and Antonio Puerta, it is certainly not sensible enough to gamble with a sportsman’s health.

Cricketsoccer wished to dig deep regarding the subject and discussed the matter with Cricketsoccer’s editor Faisal Caesar who is also a doctor by profession and is presently engaged in practicing medicine and cardiology.

Cricketsoccer asked Faisal what anaemia actually is. He answered, ‘Anaemia is a state in which the level of haemoglobin in the blood is below the normal range appropriate for age and sex. In an adult male, when haemoglobin is less than 13 gram/deciliter and female less than 11.5 gram/deciliter it is labeled as anaemia. When haemoglobin is low up to 11 gram/deciliter it is labeled as mild anaemia, a value of 9-11 gram/deciliter as moderate anaemia and below 9 gram/deciliter as severe anemia.’

On asking about the causes of anaemia Faisal replied, ‘There are several causes of anaemia. Anaemia occurs due to congenital disorders, Hookworm infestation, nutritional deficiency such as iron, vitamin B12 etc. Acute and chronic blood loss and malignancies are the common causes.’

According to Faisal, an anaemic patient presents with pallor and fatigue and in severe cases, breathlessness is experienced alongside pallor and fatigue. He said that if the anaemia isn’t treated properly, there can be fatal health hazards like anemic heart failures.

Faisal then explained about Neymar’s anaemia – ‘There is news that Neymar is suffering from anemia. First of all, it has not been revealed what sort of anemia it is and we don’t know Neymar’s actual hemoglobin level and for which we are unaware of its severity. But it can be understood that Neymar’s anaemia is not something like an inherited disorder such as Thalassaemia or Hameophillia as if those had occurred then Neymar would not have been able to become a footballer. Then we can presume that it’s not something severe otherwise Neymar would not have been able to perform on the pitch.’

‘It might be either due to nutritional deficiency as we know that Neymar was poverty-stricken during his childhood and he might have a nutritional deficiency during that time which may lead to nutritional deficiency anaemia. Or, he might have picked this anaemia after his recent tonsillectomy operation,’ he said.

Barcelona have stated that the anemia has occurred after Neymar’s recent tonsillectomy operation, although some of the world media have said that is impossible but Faisal Caesar has a very good argument on this and in fact, his explanations bear enough weight. Faisal said that anaemia after a tonsillectomy operation is possible if there is profuse bleeding during or after this surgery.

He said, ‘After tonsillectomy two types of haemorrhage occur. One is reactionary haemorrhage which occurs within 24 hours of operation and the other is secondary haemorrhage which occurs from 24 hours onwards. I just think Neymar developed a reactionary haemorrhage which was quite severe enough to trigger anaemia. But this anemic condition can be corrected by appropriate drug therapy and dietary supplements. In blood loss anaemias, most commonly, a person’s body suffers from an iron deficiency state. So a person who develops anemia after tonsillectomy or any other acute blood loss should be on a proper nutritional diet, especially he must eat a lot of iron containing foods and if needed a proper drug therapy should be taken.’

On asking whether Neymar’s anaemia will affect his career or not, Faisal replied, ‘Neymar’s anaemia is not something severe which might dent his career but it’s a mild to moderate form which perhaps developed after tonsillectomy – though it’s based on guesses as we don’t know his full medical history and blood profile – and needs a dietary regime enriched with iron-containing foods and drug therapy depending on the blood iron profile.’

Faisal then added, ‘Neymar’s physicians must maintain a strict diet and drug therapy as because athletes are more sensitive to the effects of iron deficiency because they depend on the body’s ability to transport oxygen to the muscles and in that process red blood cell hemoglobin and muscle cell myoglobin – a muscle protein – carry the oxygen and require an adequate amount of iron to function properly. For the athletes, a shortage of hemoglobin due to iron deficiency will cause the body to work slower and actually affect their performance. Again; less stored iron can negatively affect aerobic training. This can decrease energy efficiency and increase muscle fatigue and cramping.’

Regarding Neymar’s diet Faisal suggested, ‘To prevent this anemic condition Neymar’s physicians should include some lean cuts of red meat, beans, lentils, dark green leafy vegetables, eggs and nuts in his diet regularly. Neymar must increase the intake of vitamin C-rich foods (including citrus fruits, berries, new potatoes, broccoli, sprouts, tomatoes, peppers, and kiwis). Vitamin C helps make iron more absorbable. Neymar must void drinking tea and coffee after diets as the tannins in them bind to iron in the food and prevent it from being absorbed. Also, additional consumption of pure bran is helpful as it is very high in phytates (a salt or ester of phytic acid occurring in plants), which also binds to the iron.’

Barcelona’s sporting director Zubizarreta has insisted that the 21-year-old’s condition, which comes a month after the attacker had his tonsils removed, is something the club will manage and is not overly serious.

‘We would have liked him to have been in perfect condition, but not many players arrive perfect for the pre-season,’ Zubizarreta said. ‘We’ll help make sure he’s in the right condition. It’s not a concern There are quite a few days left before the league starts, although it is unlikely that he’ll be 100 percent adapted [to Barcelona’s style] by then.’

‘But we can clearly see that he’s quickly getting a grasp of our type of football.’

Neymar made his Barcelona debut in a 2-2 friendly draw against Lechia Gdansk on Tuesday before appearing off the bench in an 8-0 win over Santos on Friday. Barcelona will begin the defence of their Spanish top-flight title with a home fixture against Levante on August 18, with Neymar fully expected to make his competitive debut.

Contributors: Faisal Caesar and Samuel Bridges who is an intern in Cricketsoccer

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