FIFA outlines player health and welfare strategy at World Cup workshop

  • The team’s doctors are participating in a two-day workshop at Al Janub Stadium

  • Key topics discussed including field emergency services and concussion protocol

  • FIFA first aid bags have been delivered

The team doctors of the member associations that have qualified for this year’s FIFA World Cup™ have gathered in Qatar for a two-day workshop to discuss the overall framework of FIFA’s medical services that will be implemented at the tournament to protect the health and well-being of the players being.

The event, hosted at the Al Janoub Stadium and led by FIFA’s Medical Director, Dr. Andrew Massey, included two separate parts: a FIFA tournament emergency medicine course and an overview of all the medical services that will be available on site at during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. The latter included FIFA’s new standard for on-pitch emergency medical services, specific concussion and cardiac assessment services and designated hospitals, in addition to a tour of player medical facilities and an inspection of specialist intensive care ambulances. The design and equipment of the Qatar player clinic will be standardized across all venues to facilitate the use of the clinics by team doctors.

The participants also discussed the FIFA Medical Concussion Protocol, which is based on the FIFA credo of ‘suspect and defend’. For the first time, an independent concussion assessment and rehabilitation service will be offered at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar to provide an evidence-based assessment to any player who has suffered a brain injury, including recommendations from concussion experts on return the player in a game.

Additional measures introduced at the FIFA World Cup will include a medical replay tablet for each team doctor to review injury mechanisms, a FIFA medical coordinator overseeing pitchside services at each stadium and an injury monitor who will analyzes all relevant medical incidents from the media stand. The injury monitor, who will also use video replay, will alert the FIFA Medical Coordinator to any signs of a potentially serious injury.

On FIFA’s proposal and subject to IFAB approval, each team will be permitted to use a maximum of one concussion substitute in each match; this substitution will be possible regardless of the number of substitutes already used. This will further support the “suspect and protect” approach.

Emergency services in the field

A dedicated 24/7 sports cardiology service will also be offered to team doctors, allowing them to assess any player with symptoms potentially related to their heart.

“FIFA has established a robust framework of medical services for the FIFA World Cup in line with our principle that health comes first. Team doctors will play an important role in maximizing player health protection and this workshop was essential in terms of ensuring fruitful collaboration on a number of key topics,” commented Dr Massey.

Workshop for team doctors

Seminar for doctors of the FIFA World Cup teams

FIFA Member Associations will receive FIFA Emergency Aid Bags The team doctors of the participating member associations became the first recipients of the new FIFA first aid bags. Featuring a variety of items including an automated external defibrillator, the bags are designed to be mini-clinics, stocked with all the equipment needed to handle any scenario requiring advanced life support, all stored in a logical, consistent manner.

“FIFA First Aid Bags play a key role as part of our concrete efforts to effectively treat injuries on the pitch and promote football as a healthy activity in our member associations,” Massey added. The emergency bags will also be delivered to the remaining 179 member associations in the coming weeks.

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