On 11 and 12 February, an international medical conference entitled Challenges in Football Injuries was hosted by Aspetar, the FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence in Doha, Qatar, in conjunction with ISAKOS (the International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine) and the FIFA Medical Committee.

The aim of the conference was to provide education in the field of football injuries, focusing on some of the specific challenges and controversial topics in the area, and bringing together experts from around the world to present the latest ideas and share experience. The conference offered an exceptional programme for the attendees, including a broad panel of professional and world-renowned speakers,which facilitated academic and clinical exchanges on key topics of interest within the growing area of orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine.

Chairman of the FIFA Medical Committee Dr Michel D’Hooghe gave a keynote lecture titled: “The number-one lesion in football: the hamstring injury”, while FIFA Medical Committee and F-MARC member Dr Yacine Zerguini delivered a lecture on “Ramadan and soccer” and chaired one of the scientific sessions.

“In football, muscle injuries account for more than 30 per cent of all injuries and are responsible for about a quarter of the total playing and training time lost. A professional squad of 25 players can expect about five hamstring injuries per season, the equivalent of 80 days lost and 14 missed matches. But the good news is that hamstring strains can, very frequently, be prevented,” said Dr D’Hooghe.

“Aspetar hosted the first consensus conference on Ramadan and football in 2011, bringing together scientists, physicians and football players to exchange their knowledge and experience in order to develop recommendations for fasting players. I’m very pleased to be back here to present the results of our different studies on this important matter,” added Dr Zerguini.