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Football doctor course in Croatia


Croatia made an important contribution to UEFA's Football Doctor Education Programme – a platform for the development of football medicine – with a course near Zagreb.

Participants at the UEFA Football Doctor Education Programme course in Croatia
Participants at the UEFA Football Doctor Education Programme course in Croatia ©HNS

Croatia is the latest national association to contribute to UEFA's innovative Football Doctor Education Programme (FDEP), in which UEFA members exchange ideas, information and expertise in the increasingly important area of football medicine.

The FDEP was launched at the start of 2012, since when crucial know-how has been passed down through UEFA's member national associations in a series of cascaded courses. The Sava sports centre at Sesvete, near Zagreb, hosted the Croatia course, which involved doctors from the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) and domestic clubs. HNS president Davor Šuker welcomed the participants, who also included UEFA Medical Committee member Dr José Henrique Jones.

In the modern-day game, the development of football medicine is considered essential for the well-being of players. Medical teams, including doctors, ambulances, medical rooms and life-saving equipment, as well as other facilities in this sector, ensure that footballers can avail themselves of specialised ultra-modern medical attention.

The FDEP provides education and instruction in the vital role of the modern football doctor. It helps with the emergency treatment of players; duties and responsibilities of the football doctor; diagnosis and treatment of injuries; prevention and rehabilitation of injuries; and anti-doping. Content has been devised in conjunction with UEFA's Medical Committee, headed by chairman Dr Michel D'Hooghe, and sports medicine experts.

UEFA is at the forefront of football medical work, with its Medical Committee a prime mover behind various innovations and developments. In addition, the European governing body's determination to nurture football medicine and the prevention and treatment of injuries through the UEFA Football Doctor Education Programme, is welcomed by Europe's FAs.

The recent sixth UEFA Medical Symposium in Madrid highlighted the FDEP, as well as the sterling work undertaken in other medical fields by UEFA and its associations.

A varied and interesting agenda featured in Croatia, including practical sessions and group discussions which offered ample opportunity for feedback and debate. The opening-day topics included managing medical team operations, handling the relationship between national teams and clubs, and the relationship between national team and club medical staff.

The course looked at a wealth of specific topics such as how to deal with a player suffering cardiac arrest; cervical spine injuries; trauma-related injuries and scenarios; head injuries; thorax injuries; and abdomen and pelvic injuries. Delegates also split into groups for workshops and discussions on medical emergencies, and treatment of asthma, anaphylaxis, diabetes, epilepsy and analgia.

Once more, the Croatia event proved that the education and information exchange aspect of the UEFA programme is invaluable – not only serving the football medical department, but also benefiting European football as a whole.

"The cascaded FDEP course in Croatia was a perfect way to develop football-specific medical knowledge in our country" said Croatia's senior national team doctor Dr Zoran Bahtijarević. "The course explicitly focused on basic life support and trauma scenarios, with the participation of UEFA expert and Medical Committee member José Henrique Jones and the support of UEFA. There can be no doubt we have enhanced the knowledge of our elite doctors and furthered the strength of Croatian football medicine."

"All at the Croatian association organised a high-quality course, which will definitely further improve football medicine knowledge among elite football doctors in the country," Dr Jones emphasised. "It was a pleasure to take part in such an extremely well-organised event, and to see how the Croatian Football Federation is supporting UEFA's activities in cascading the Football Doctor Education Programme."