10 April 2018 – The South African Football Association (SAFA) will host their first ever Medical Symposium set for next month (19 May) at SAFA House.

Led by the SAFA Chief Medical Officer, Dr Thulani Ngwenya, who is also the Bafana Bafana Medical Doctor, the one-day gathering of medical minds will deal with various topics to be held under the theme “FOOTBALL MEDICINE: WHERE ARE WE?”

Some of the topics to be covered include:

  • Football-related injuries (diagnosis & management)
  • Emergency football medicine (Sudden Cardiac Arrest)
  • Concussion management new trends
  • Travel medicine (Jet lag, fatigue, disease risk assessment)
  • FIFA medical rules & regulations
  • Rehabilitation & recuperation
  • Medical ethics and doping control
  • Football Nutrition (Match day meal)
  • Football Psychology (Performance anxiety, coping with social pressures, RTP after injury
  • Communication between Clubs & National Teams

“Protecting players’ health is SAFA’s priority as manifested in the initiative of the SAFA Medical Committee. While our main approach continues to be prevention and education, there is no doubt that it is also of paramount importance to react immediately and in the correct manner to any emergency that may occur on or off the field of play,” said Dr Ngwenya, who is part of the South African Team at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

“This importance is aggravated by the recent cases of young players tragically succumbing to sudden cardiac deaths, especially in our Local Football Associations (LFAs), a matter which is of grave concern and whose causes we are working extremely hard to investigate, as well as prevent through a number of different measures – first aid training for coaches being one of them, since coaches are the ones who are almost always with the players.”

Dr Ngwenya hopes the event will be an annual gathering.

Expected to deliver presentations are local and international medical professionals like Dr Joseph Kabungo (CAF & FIFA); Prof Efraim Kramer (CAF, FIFA); Dr Yacine Zerguini (CAF & FIFA); Dr Sello Motaung (SAFA); Dr Ephraim Nematswerane (SAFA, SASCOC); Dr Phatho Zondi (SASCOC); Prof Martin Schwellnus; Dr Lervasen Pillay (PSL); Dr Carl Tabane (PSL); Mr. Martin Scheepers (Sports Psychologist); Mr. Bafana Sihlali (PSL, SASCOC); Mr. David Milner (PSL) as well as Mr. Pagiso Mathews (Sports Dietician).

The objectives of the symposium are, amongst others:

  • Share recent medical knowledge
  • Establish a good patient care system between clubs and national teams
  • Improve player performance through good medical management systems
  • Promote medical emergency awareness on the field of play
  • Promote the prevention of medical emergencies through proper pre-season or pre-competition screening system
  • Enhance the working relationship between Coaches and Medical teams
  • Ultimately contribute in improving the football performance in our country, region, continent and the world.

The participants will include football medical staff (Doctors, Physiotherapists, Physical Trainers, Masseurs, Biokineticists, Sports Dieticians & Sports Psychologists); SAFA & PSL coaches and referees to be informed about updated pre-, during and post-match care in the game.

The symposium will be held in collaboration with the PSL, COSAFA, CAF and the FIFA Medical Commission.