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Keynote UEFA medical summit in Madrid


This week's sixth UEFA Medical Symposium in Madrid sees the sports medical community come together to discuss a wide range of issues relating to medicine and present-day football.

The most recent UEFA Medical Symposium took place in Stockholm in 2010
The most recent UEFA Medical Symposium took place in Stockholm in 2010 ©Sportsfile

With the role of medicine taking on crucial importance in modern-day football, UEFA has chosen the perfect moment to stage its sixth Medical Symposium in Madrid this week – bringing together the sports medical community for an in-depth review of the broad palette of medical issues in the game.

The UEFA anti-doping and medical unit has been hard at work organising this keynote symposium, entitled Evolution, which follows previous gatherings in Frankfurt (1993), Coverciano/Florence (1997), Nyon (2002), Istanbul (2006) and Stockholm (2010). The event is being run in cooperation with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), and attendees include doctors from all 54 UEFA member national associations and medics from European clubs.

The agenda is comprehensive, beginning with a review of the evolution of medical issues in football, before highlighting the work of UEFA's vastly experienced Medical Committee. UEFA's Elite Club Injury Study – which in particular has gathered a wealth of information relating to injury prevention – will come into the spotlight, along with UEFA's approach to doping control in football.

The second day features UEFA's national associations, with national team doctors from Croatia and the Republic of Ireland showing how they manage medical services, and how the game's development has impacted on the function of medical staff and experts. The evolution of football medicine will also be examined in what should be a fascinating debate at a round-table discussion involving elite coaches, players and doctors. Experts will also be looking, among other things, at the treatment of specific injuries, medical care in youth and women's football, psychology and nutrition in football, and the vital aspect of protecting players.

"This symposium brings together doctors from clubs and national associations at one of football's largest medical conferences to discuss, debate and most of all celebrate the key role that football medicine is playing in the health and success of the sport," say UEFA President Michel Platini and UEFA Medical Committee chairman Dr Michel D'Hooghe in their joint message to the symposium.

"UEFA's commitment to driving the development of football medicine has always been significant, but this sixth UEFA Medical Symposium comes at a time when the UEFA Medical Committee is more active than ever, promoting a series of new initiatives which have greatly improved both practical medical support and general awareness of the importance of medicine within the European football family.

"The implementation of minimum medical standards across all UEFA competitions has helped to harmonise the provision of medical rooms, ambulances, emergency doctors and life-saving equipment at matches, thereby safeguarding the health of players and officials. Meanwhile, the Football Doctor Education Programme has helped to train doctors from national associations in key life-saving and injury management skills, and the UEFA Elite Club Injury Study has continued to break new ground in its 12th year, involving even more clubs in its search for excellence and helping to share good practices among elite clubs.

"The symposium looks to celebrate the key purpose of our role – ensuring that everyone involved in football can participate with maximum health and fitness, and that where medical problems do occur, the highest possible standards of care and services are available to ensure a swift recovery and a safe return to action."

RFEF president Ángel María Villar Llona and chief medical officer Dr Helena Herrero praise the outstanding work of UEFA and the national associations. "UEFA has demonstrated a firm commitment to ensuring that professional footballers – the true architects of the game – can ply their trade in ever safer conditions, as evidenced by the numerous programmes and initiatives that it has been implementing over recent years in partnership with the national associations.

"This demonstrates the importance that European football's governing bodies are placing on improving the quality of the medical care received by the millions of footballers who make our sport so great. It is an example of solidarity for which everyone who loves football should be grateful for."