The global network of FIFA Medical Centres of Excellence includes a new representative as of 17 April, with the Clairefontaine Medical Centre having been awarded the privileged status in the presence of Dr Michel D'Hooghe, Chairman of the FIFA Medical Committee, Prof. Pierre Rochcongar, French National Federal Doctor, and Noel le Graet, President of the French Football Federation (FFF).
Aimed at improving football medicine and the treatment given to players of all levels through greater knowledge, the FIFA Medical Centres of Excellence programme now stands to benefit from the addition of a complex renowned for its significant expertise and for the quality of care it provides to elite sportsmen.
“By opening the National Technical Centre in 1988, the French Football Federation fulfilled its wish – in an exceptional manner – to equip itself with state-of-the-art facilities that are not just placed at the disposal of the French senior team, but also of French national sides at all levels. These are used to train players and coaches, and conduct sporting research – and all this from one location,” said Le Graet, adding, “This superb site quickly became an international benchmark.”
Among its areas of expertise, the Clairefontaine centre, which is run by Dr Pascal Maille, a sports injury and medicine specialist, provides various services to sportspeople undergoing pre- or post-surgery rehabilitation or recovering from injury.
As well as treatment, it also offers footballers and athletes from other sports access to special programmes, allowing them to develop their performances and evaluate their own progress.
“FIFA’s decision to bestow its ‘Medical Centre of Excellence’ status is a reward for the efforts made on behalf of Clairefontaine and the hopes placed in it,” continued the FFF President, who was elected to his current role in 2011.
“The fact that this distinction is granted to a limited number of centres across the globe makes us feel even greater pride here at the FFF. FIFA and its medical staff have really honoured our Federation.”
Treatment, research and training
The hi-tech Clairefontaine complex, now the 33rd member of the FIFA Medical Centres of Excellence family, boasts – aside from a highly qualified medical and supervisory staff – cutting-edge sports medicine technology such as iso-kinetic muscle-strengthening machines, CO2 lasers, radial shock wave devices and spas, among other things.
Treatments and therapies offered include rehabilitation, recovery, diet advice and psychological help.
In addition to medical apparatuses, the Clairefontaine centre possesses top-class sporting facilities, such as a gym and a running track, which are used to monitor athletes’ progress, in terms of treatment following an injury or of an analysis of their form, recuperation abilities or performance enhancement.
Aside from offering therapy, the Clairefontaine complex is also involved in research, and in training medical personnel. Doctors, physiotherapists and physical trainers have all been trained there, and have gone on to become key players in the field of sports medicine.
All of these criteria motivated the FIFA Medical Committee and its President Michel D'Hooghe to make Clairefontaine the second FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence in France after the Lyon Football Academy, which received the distinction in October 2012.
“The granting of this status arrives at a moment when the FFF is launching a huge renovation and modernisation project at the National Technical Centre," said Le Graet. "The purpose of this is to offer its users, by the time UEFA EURO 2016 comes around, optimum services and the warmest possible welcome - just like with its medical centre,” he concluded.