Medical Committee focuses on player health

At a meeting held in Zurich on 17 March 2008 under the chairmanship of Dr Michel D'Hooghe (Belgium), the FIFA Medical Committee focused on its role as the guardian of the health of players and on the importance of education related to football medicine in order to prevent injuries and disease as well as to improve standards of care.

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, who opened the meeting, updated the members on medical-related matters that have recently been discussed by the football family, including the ratification of the decisions taken by the FIFA Executive Committee on playing football at high altitude (cf. media release on 14 March) and the meeting recently held with WADA President John Fahey at the Home of FIFA (cf. media release on 29 February).

The FIFA President also encouraged the committee to continue its good work, in particular in the important task of preserving the players' health, and announced that in order to demonstrate the importance of football medicine to the daily life of players, one day at the FIFA Congress 2009 would be entirely dedicated to this topic, in particular to the prevention and appropriate management of football-related injuries.

Professor Jiri Dvorak, FIFA's Chief Medical Officer, announced that the 3rd International Football Medicine Conference would take place in Sun City (South Africa) from 19 to 21 February 2010. He also confirmed that the 3rd consensus meeting on concussion in sport, organised together with the IOC, IIHF and IRB, would be hosted at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on 30 October 2008.

The committee also approved several studies, among them a study on longitudinal hormone profile blood and urine testing on professional footballers.

Finally, the Football for Health in Africa project, which is part of the Win in Africa with Africa initiative related to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, was presented. The project will explore the unique possibility to use football's popularity to efficiently disseminate simple but effective messages to combat communicable and non-communicable diseases and focus on measures to improve the health situation in Africa. In this regard, the "11 for Health" project will be launched in Africa in coordination with the FIFA Football for Hope Movement.