The Isokinetic Medical Group, a FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence, organised the 22nd Annual Sports Rehabilitation conference which took place in London between Saturday 20 and Monday 22 April.
This event is the largest Football Medicine conference which will be held in 2013 and was run in partnership with FIFA’s F-MARC department and The Football Association.
“FIFA is very proud to see that a FIFA initiative like the Isokinetic, accredited as FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence, in Bologna has been able to develop such a successful international medical conference,” said FIFA’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Jiri Dvorak.
“The conference was the occasion to present information about the successful implementation of the FIFA 11+ program in different countries. Scientific evidence has shown that this prevention program can reduce the number of injuries up to 50 per cent.”
The conference attracted over 1400 delegates from 77 countries including; doctors, surgeons, physiotherapists, coaches and footballers, all of whom put their club rivalries to one side for one weekend to share and debate the future strategies of muscle and tendon injuries. Hamstring injuries in particular are a strong focus of the scientific and practical discussions.
Indeed, key medical staff from Bayern Munich, Barcelona, and Real Madrid spoke at the conference. Fabrizio Tencone, Juventus’s Chief Medical Officer who has been working with the Italian club since 1995, had this to say about the prevention of injuries.
“Every previous injury a player had can be a risk factor for injuries in the future,” he said. “So if you had an injury while playing football at a young age, that kind of injury and healing of that injury can be a huge risk factor for new injury when you’re older, especially injuries relating to muscle because muscles do not heal normally.
“Muscles get scars and if you had a lot of muscle injuries when you are young, then you will have a lot of scars on the muscle and that makes the muscles less flexible and elastic compared to before, therefore it can be risk factor.
"Some injuries are different when you are young and old. When a person is young they are still growing and some parts of the body are not completely attached to the other part, which makes them more fragile.”
The conference was opened by ex-Arsenal and England footballer, Alan Smith, while England football team manager, Roy Hodgson, also took part in a panel discussion, underlining the importance of injury management.
"For all us football coaches in England who would dearly love to see our season spread out slightly differently, if you can come up with what we've been saying then we would be very grateful," Hodgson said at Wembley on Monday.
"I find a shorter break now and again is much better than those long breaks so I don't think the best way to keep players fit is to push them through 60 games in eight-and-a-half months and then have three-and-a-half months with no football.
"It might be better if we spread the load a little bit differently and we give them more breaks and certainly a break in the middle of the season.”