Following the strategy implemented with the first opening of the FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence at the Schulthess clinic in Zurich in May 2005, football's world governing body has decided to set-up further FIFA Medical Centres of Excellence across all continents to ensure that players have access to high quality football medicine. In a first phase, five more selected centres have received the official accreditation after careful evaluation of their application by the FIFA Sports Medical Committee.
On 23 January 2008, after the inauguration of the new centres in Santa Monica and Kawasaki in December, Prof. Jiri Dvorak, MD, FIFA Chief Medical Officer and Chairman of the FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre (F-MARC), officially presented Dr Tony Edwards, Sports Physician and Partner at adidas Sports Medicine, with the accreditation certificate for the adidas Sports Medicine Centre in University Park, St Johns, Auckland, New Zealand.
"We are delighted with the outcome!" said Dr Tony Edwards. "This is a great honour for the centre and the culmination of many years hard work. We are constantly striving to provide top medical services to football in Oceania and New Zealand. This centre will be a home for football research and a resource for the players in Oceania to use."
The vision behind creating a network of medical centres across the world is to ensure that players on all continents know who to turn to for expert care in football medicine, such as the prevention of injuries, early detection of risk factors for sudden cardiac death, as well as state-of-the-art diagnosis and therapy services. Adidas Sports Medicine pride themselves on having the most comprehensive quality service available in New Zealand for a multi disciplinary approach to the treatment of sports injuries with a raft of different specialists on site, including sports physicians, sports orthopaedic surgeons, physiotherapists, massage therapists and podiatrists. With such a diversity of different specialists under the same roof it is easy to coordinate the whole process of injury diagnosis, surgical intervention if needed, and most importantly top quality rehabilitation.
Adidas Sports Medicine have a major commitment to football medicine, generating research in the field of football injuries and injury prevention. Doctors and physiotherapists are involved with a number of national football teams including the New Zealand senior men's and women's teams along with sides at youth level. They are committed to injury prevention and have been instigating the F-MARC 'The 11'programme in their various squads.
"The accumulated body of knowledge in football medicine needs to be practically implemented so that players can fully benefit from state-of-the-art prevention, treatment and rehabilitation," said Prof. Dvorak. "FIFA Medical Centres of Excellence like the adidas clinic ensure this. In addition, they educate and train the next generation of clinical specialists and scientists committed to football medicine."
The inauguration of the Centre for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa and the orthopaedic clinic Munich-Harlaching will follow over the coming months.