The Slovak Football Association (SFZ)'s latest football medicine congress was held in Senec in December, bringing together international delegates and guest speakers.
These congresses date back five years, building on two decades of organised annual meetings for doctors, masseurs and physiotherapists of the national teams and clubs from the top two divisions. In the latest, the two main topics were how to protect against sudden cardiac death (primary and secondary prevention) and muscle injury (prevention, diagnosis and recovery).
One new method of preventing sudden cardiac death was presented to the congress by Prof. Stanislav Oravec. He explained that a new form of lipoprotein analysis, specifically aimed at detecting the possibility of atherogenic destruction, could be very effective, especially among players aged between 12 and 18, who could have normal lipoprotein levels but a high risk of blood-vessel destruction and sudden cardiac death. The relatively new approach is known as the lipoprint method.
Thromboembolic disease is also a major risk factor in sudden cardiac deaths, often seen in very young players. It was explained that is also important to carry out specific tests on at-risk players (known by their family history) as a means of prevention.
The final risk factor discussed at the congress was the issue of energy drinks containing caffeine and taurine, often used in high volumes by young players. The risk of sudden death was demonstrated with case studies by Dr Pavel Malovič, UEFA doping control officer.
Turning to the second topic on the agenda, Prof. Jean de la Tualaye, a famous French nutritionist, gave a presentation on muscle injuries, which are a problem not only in terms of prevention and healing. Perhaps the biggest difficulty is recovery, according to Prof. De la Tullaye, who explained the principle of glucose protein regeneration in muscle overuse and injury. The congress was then successfully rounded off with a presentation on electrotherapy for muscle injuries by Andrea Bolchi of Italy.
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