UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

UEFA doctor education programme back in business


Following a two-year break owing to the COVID pandemic, UEFA’s Football Doctor Education Programme (FDEP) has resumed its mission to educate and advise doctors and experts about football medical matters – helping to raise standards in Europe in this crucial sector of the game.

A practical session at the Zeist course
A practical session at the Zeist course UEFA

The Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) and its training centre at Zeist played host to doctors from UEFA’s 55 member associations at the FDEP’s first workshop since the programme’s activities restarted.

The event immediately emphasised UEFA’s commitment to enhancing the standard of football doctors in providing emergency treatment throughout Europe.

Topics at the workshop including sudden cardiac arrest, spinal injuries, and general emergency care.

Dr Jonathan Gordon - leader of the FDEP emergency treatment workshop - gives advice to delegates in Zeist.
Dr Jonathan Gordon - leader of the FDEP emergency treatment workshop - gives advice to delegates in Zeist. UEFA

What is the UEFA Football Doctor Education Programme?

• A three-part programme which teaches doctors from all 55 UEFA member associations the key skills of the modern football doctor.

• The programme links three specific face-to-face workshops on emergency medicine, injury diagnosis/treatment and protecting the player (nutrition, anti-doping, fatigue/recovery, psychology) – where doctors learn and practise techniques – with an online e-learning support platform containing instructional videos, tests of participants' knowledge and process guidelines for doctors to refer to at any time.

• An online forum is also in operation, allowing course participants to discuss and resolve key issues between themselves outside of the workshops.

• All workshops are run by recognised international experts in the relevant fields, and members of the UEFA Medical Committee, many of whom have years of experience working as team doctors for their senior national teams.

“The Football Doctor Education Programme covers all main aspects of football medicine, and helps to increase medical standards across Europe.”

- UEFA Medical Committee chairman Tim Meyer

Workshop evaluation tests

Participants in Zeist underwent the testing process that takes place at the end of each FDEP workshop to evaluate the skills and knowledge they have learned.

This evaluation is important because as well as learning key skills, one of the unique aspects of the FDEP is that all participants are taught how to 'cascade' their own version of the course for doctors in their own country.

This ‘cascading’ process ensures that only those participants who demonstrate competence in the topic area are authorised to pass those skills and knowledge on to their peers at a cascaded workshop.

Consequently, UEFA is creating a network of skilled medical tutors disseminating the skills learned on the course across Europe's wider football community – this means that increasing numbers of doctors are being trained to apply techniques and use equipment that could make the difference between a life being lost and a life being saved.

“The information provided during the workshops are essential for a team doctor to know how to react in an emergency situation on the pitch.”

KNVB chief medical officer Edwin Goedhart

Zeist training

The first group of participants pictured in Zeist
The first group of participants pictured in ZeistUEFA

The Zeist workshop featured two different groups: the first group had already successfully organised at least one ‘cascaded’ course the previous season, while the second group comprised participants who have not yet organised a ‘cascaded’ course.

The content of the workshops was slightly adapted to reflect the differences in the participants’ experience, teach them the essentials on emergency treatment and provide them with all the content and tips to replicate the same workshop in their country.

The second group of participants
The second group of participantsUEFA via Getty Images

To support this objective, UEFA provides all participants with the course material (presentations, case studies, assessments, etc.). Additionally, all national associations are invited to apply via the HatTrick funding for the ringfenced FDEP incentive of €10,000 to support them in the running of their own workshops. The material and financial support are the keys for them to successfully ‘cascade’ the workshop at national level.

HatTrick funding target

The target for the 2022/23 season is for most of the associations to apply for HatTrick funding for the FDEP workshop on emergency medicine, after two complicated seasons owing to the COVID pandemic when many FAs were not in a position to seek funding.

UEFA also wishes to re-establish a regular rhythm for its three workshops in the years to come after the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Participants’ views on the FDEP Zeist workshop

“Everything was perfect. It was a really useful course, with many examples and real-life case studies which will help us all in understanding the correct behaviour and techniques to adopt.”

“The funding from the HatTrick programme will help our federation to cascade the course to the doctors in our top league.”