Football medicine conference drives progress

Isokinetic Football Medicine Conference 2018

The largest annual gathering of the football medicine community took place in Barcelona, Spain, from 2-4 June 2018 as part of the “Football Medicine Outcomes – Are We Winning” conference.  

With the iconic Camp Nou stadium providing the backdrop, more than 2,500 medical professionals from around 90 countries came together to exchange ideas on how to improve outcomes for those who sustain football injuries. 

It marked the 27th edition of the conference, which is led by the Isokinetic Medical Group – an internationally recognised leader in sports medicine and rehabilitation – and organised this year in collaboration with FIFA, the FIFA Medical Centres of Excellence and FC Barcelona. 

“The Isokinetic meeting is always one of the sports medicine highlights of the year – and this year was no exception,” said Mark Fulcher, Editor-in Chief of the FIFA Medical Network.

“It was great to listen to a huge range of experts and to spend time with friends and colleagues in what was a truly amazing venue.”

The conference included a series of 15-minute lectures from experts covering a diverse range of topics from prevention and rehabilitation methods, to nutrition and the mental wellbeing of footballers. One of the key focusses was the handling of major injuries such as ruptures of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). 

While a number of good treatment strategies are already being put into practice, delegates heard evidence around the high rate of recurrence and how the injured body part often never returns to normal, impacting performance in the short term and creating issues in the longer term. 

New rehabilitation strategies, different surgical techniques and the possible role of “orthobiologics” – substances that can facilitate the healing of injuries – were all discussed. One particularly interesting session explored the evidence regarding many common surgical procedures including ACL reconstructions, knee arthroscopy and the surgical treatment of femoroacetabular impingement. Discussions centred on the fact that these operations are often performed too quickly and too frequently, particularly for recreational players. 

The impact that monitoring and technology may have on injury risk was also explored, with a number of team medical staff demonstrating how this is used in top professional teams. 

Another session looked at some of the issues relating to women, including how they have higher rates of ACL tears and ACL re-ruptures than men. Women’s football is on the rise and it’s important the players have the right medical care. 

For more information, join the FIFA Medical Network Isokinetic Conference group, visit the conference website or find the latest Twitter posts using the #FFMED hashtag.

The conference in numbers:

  • 3 days 
  • 220 leading experts in their field 
  • 2,500+ delegates 
  • At least 90 countries represented 
  • More than 400 presentations
  • 50 sponsors

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