The important medical issues in modern-day football will come under the microscope at the fifth UEFA Medical Symposium in Stockholm from Tuesday to Thursday. Medical experts will join club and national-team medical officials and the UEFA Medical Committee for a gathering which will look at the future in relation to football, medicine and sports science.
UEFA has devoted considerable efforts to the medical field, with a number of important developments taking place in recent years. The testing of blood samples was successfully introduced for UEFA EURO 2008, doping controls have been stepped up across the European competitions, medical facilities at UEFA matches have achieved new benchmarks, and injury research data collected by UEFA has given invaluable feedback to football's medical sector. Dialogue is also a key factor thanks to events such as the Stockholm symposium and the recent inaugural UEFA Elite Club Medical Forum which brought together team doctors from Europe's leading clubs.
Team doctors have now been accepted as a crucial component of a club's operations in particular, and the doctor's role as part of "the team behind the team" will come under the spotlight at the UEFA symposium. These are the people who are in the front line of football medicine, said UEFA Medical Committee chairman Dr Michel D'Hooghe in a recent edition of the UEFA publication Medicine Matters – "the doctors who are, throughout the year and season after season, facing the problems of injuries, the prevention of doping and issues such as the eternal tug-of-war between their medical ethical principles and the economic objectives of their team".
An update will be given on UEFA injury studies by Professor Jan Ekstrand. The injury studies' remit is to learn more about injury patterns and risks, increase the safety of football and decrease the number of injuries with the aim of providing information of mutual benefit not only to European football's governing body, but also to the clubs and national associations throughout Europe.
Delegates will also be asked to supply feedback on current medical topics after taking part in discussion groups at the symposium. Other items on the agenda include medicine that serves the player, accuracy in doping controls, specific medical aspects relating to women's football and the importance of a well-structured medical organisation within a national association.
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