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Football medicine education: first step for Eswatini

Practical training 5

The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) is the latest member association to conduct a FIFA football medicine course, the first such training in the country. The two-day programme took place from 25 to 26 November and was attended by 25 participants, with an almost even spread between genders, with the EFA President opening and closing the course.

A landlocked country in southern Africa, Eswatini is one of the smallest countries in Africa. None of the participating doctors, nurses, paramedics or physiotherapists had previously participated in a sports medicine course. This was their first exposure to the world of current, evidence-based football medicine and football emergency medicine.

FIFA’s football medicine courses are aimed at informing medical representatives about the newest treatments for football-related injuries and best practices for injury prevention, as well as transferring knowledge about tournament medical services and requirements.

Run by three FIFA instructors, the courses cover a wide range of topics, such as the role of the team doctor, minimum stadium medical requirements, injury prevention, pre-competition medical assessment, concussion and anti-doping. Practical workshops are also held to focus on clinical examination techniques, case studies, injury prevention programmes, demonstrations and exercises, and injury assessment. Emergency football medicine is also taught. You can see a sample agenda here.

One of the participants was a medical doctor and the EFA Vice President. It was important to bear in mind the local context and to tailor all courses accordingly to meet the needs of each member association. Given the size of Eswatini and the lack of exposure to major football tournaments, courses like this are essential for further awareness, learning and development, and this programme is therefore just a first step.

FIFA instructor Professor Efraim Kramer added:”It was a workshop filled with debate and discussion around local issues, rather than just a simple unilateral PowerPoint presentation. These professional participants wanted to know what they needed to know, not just what we wanted to give them. With this enthusiasm, there is no doubt this is the first of many workshops to come. Hopefully the rest of Africa will follow.”  

To learn more about FIFA medical courses, please email medical@fifa.org.

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