Avoiding injury ensures higher player availability and allows coaches to have the most complete squad available for training and to select from. The theme of the 3 days 26th International Conference in Sports Rehabilitation and Traumatology which was held in Barcelona, Camp Nou from the 13th – 15th of May 2017 was “ The Future of Football Medicine”.
There is increasing resources, increasing complexity and diversity, and increasing demand for positive change in player care and performance. It therefore feels like we are in a critical moment for Football Medicine and Science. Many doctors, physiotherapist, chiropractors, masseurs, physical trainers, sports scientists and biokineticists are frequently challenged by colleagues, players, coaching staff to define and predict the future. What will be the innovations that will really make a difference for player care, injury prevention, return to play decision making, data management and on-field player performance?
The past two decades marked a significant change in the development of football medicine. While the focus was historically on injury management benefitting from the new imaging tools and significant advancement, the global growth of football community made it obvious that prevention of injuries is the key to reduce accelerated late changes while playing football regularly.
The conference was dedicated to the topic of defining the future of the discipline and community. The aim was to give the attendees a wider vision; one of which can help to be successful in his/her career. This was done by sharing the expertise and knowledge that has taken these individual practitioners and professionals to the top of football medicine and science. This was in accordance with the mission of the Isokinetic Medical Group’s Conference, which is to inspire the International Sports Medicine community through culture, image, atmosphere and organisation, to give their best to improve the health of the World.
The conference was above all, an opportunity for discussion and presented an opportunity for the exchange of ideas and experience. My summary deduction of the conference is that football medicine and science is the cornerstone of modern football in particular football development.
The greatest success in EUFA and CONCACAF is the thorough emphasis on integration between technical and football medicine & science. This has also made me to also believe that if we (SAFA) give football medicine and science more attention and develop a well-thought collaborative integration with the technical team, South Africa can conquer the world.
I met Dr Djomo Williams, the Team Doctor of Cameroon which is the current reigning African champions and Dr Ali, the Team Doctor for Egypt which is the team that lost to Cameroon in the 2017 AFCON finals. I was alarmed to learn that they have been attending this conference for the past 5 years. This then means SAFA is also on the right direction.
This conference has inspired me to convene a much needed SAFA Medical Conference with the permission from the SAFA leadership ofcourse, and also make it an annual event. I am very confident that if we can take this concept off the ground promptly and integrate it with the technical department, the great SAFA vision 2022 will be timeously realised.