Pioneering medical work praised

Treating injured players is one of the topics on the agenda at UEFA's Sports Medical Symposium.

The third UEFA Sports Medical Symposium has opened at UEFA's House of European Football in Nyon with a call to sports physicians to continue their essential work to improve the quality of football.

'Protecting European Football'
Delegates from UEFA’s 51 member associations and doctors of major European clubs have joined members of the UEFA Medical Committee and UEFA Panel of Doping Control Officers in western Switzerland to discuss a variety of topics under the theme 'Protecting European Football'.

Expert knowledge
"Please continue your pioneering work as doctors, and place your expert knowledge at the disposal of our game, because we need you," said UEFA deputy chief executive Markus Studer in his welcome address to the symposium. "You treat healthy people to become healthier. Please also help us to ensure that our wonderful game stays in the best of health, as we have a common duty to protect European football."

Injury treatment
The symposium is looking at a number of current key topics, including the treatment of football injuries, prevention of injuries and doping issues.

Guidelines and solutions
UEFA Medical Committee chairman Doctor Urs Vogel (Switzerland) said that one of the European football medical community’s objectives at the symposium would be to draw up guidelines and solutions that would help UEFA point the way forward in the sports medical sector.

First-hand knowledge
"As either team doctors or practising doctors who treat injured or sick players, we have first-hand knowledge of the problems which arise in particular as regards the treatment of top sportsmen and women," said Dr Vogel. "We know, for example, about the great pressure that is exerted by players, coaches and, not least, the media with respect to recovery from injury. Let us therefore look for solutions and put forward proposals for improvement that will be useful for European football."

Complex area
The chairman of FIFA’s Medical Committee, Doctor Michel D’Hooghe (Belgium), said the world of sports medicine had become so complex over the past 30 years that it was now virtually impossible for one person to master all of the areas concerned: "Traumatology, orthopaedics, physiology, psychology and pharmacology have all had an impact on our sport – sports medicine has now become the work of a team."

Regulation changes
Dr D’Hooghe said that the importance of the sports medical sector should never be underestimated, as it had been responsible for a series of key measures which had been introduced into football's regulations, such as the compulsory use of shinguards, authorisation to drink fluid during matches and the red card for tackles from behind.

Football’s globalisation
"Now, the globalisation of football means that we face new challenges, such as adaptation to jet lag from travelling and playing football at high altitudes," he added. "I hope that we will leave this symposium enriched and strengthened in our quest to improve the game in the service of Europe’s youngsters."