UEFA's member associations are continuing to derive the benefits from the UEFA Football Doctor Education Programme, through which vital medical information and expertise is being passed on for the benefit of European football.
Launched earlier this year at a workshop in Vienna, the programme provides education and instruction in the role of the modern football doctor – emergency treatment of players, injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, the roles and responsibilities of the football doctor and anti-doping. Content has been developed in conjunction with the UEFA Medical Committee and sports medicine experts.
Following the success of the Vienna workshop, the further dissemination of programme content is taking place through the hosting of similar workshops at national level. The objective is to help medical representatives of national associations to cascade the knowledge shared in senior international football down to the medical staff and club doctors at all levels.
To spread knowledge as quickly as possible, UEFA is lending medical emergency training kit, as well as providing educational tools – technical handbooks, trained course delegates to offer invaluable advice and an extensive online platform with e-learning facilities.
One example of this cascading process has taken place within the Liechtenstein Football Association (LFV). Four national team doctors and six physiotherapists attended the workshop, and UEFA sent training equipment to the Alpine principality for the practical part of the workshop.
"The training equipment is really extraordinary, perfectly organised and in very good condition," said LFV medical director and FIFA Medical Committee member Dr Ecki Hermann. "This way we could train together in different groups until everybody knew how to use the material. We could also use it in groups of doctors and physios who work together in the different national teams, which is an advantage for the future as well."
In an afternoon session, a rescue team was also invited on to the pitch to learn about the use of on-field stabilisation techniques, such as the log roll, and equipment – including spinal boards and neck braces.
"It was a great success, and feedback from all the participants was very good," said Dr Christian Schlegel, chief medical officer of the Swiss Winter Olympics teams in Vancouver (2010) and the forthcoming games in Sochi, Russia in 2014. "I seldom have been involved in a course of such a high standard. It was very well prepared and performed, and with such sensational training equipment."
UEFA medical committee chairman Dr Michel D'Hooghe said: "The UEFA Football Doctor Education Programme is a course designed to help football doctors across Europe develop the techniques and expertise that are an essential part of the modern football doctor's toolkit.
"The course aims to teach effective treatment techniques, share real football experiences, identify best practice, and most importantly teach doctors how to disseminate the skills learned within their own countries. This will help to develop a network of highly skilled team physicians working across European football."
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