Thursday 07 July 2022, 12:00

FIFA outlines player health and well-being strategy at World Cup workshop

  • Team doctors participate in two-day workshop at Al Janoub Stadium

  • Key topics discussed, including field-of-play emergency services and concussion protocol

  • FIFA Emergency Care Bags delivered

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

The event staged at Al Janoub Stadium and led by FIFA Director of Medical, Dr Andrew Massey, featured two distinct parts: the FIFA Tournament Emergency Medicine Course and an overview of all medical services that will be offered on-site during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. The latter included the new FIFA standard for field-of-play emergency medical services, specific concussion and cardiac assessment services and the designated hospitals, in addition to a tour of the player medical facilities and an inspection of the dedicated critical care ambulances. Player clinic design and equipment in Qatar will be standardised across all venues to facilitate the clinics’ use by team doctors.

The participants also discussed the FIFA Medical Concussion Protocol, which is based on FIFA’s “suspect and protect” credo. For the first time at a FIFA World Cup, an independent Concussion Assessment and Rehabilitation Service will be offered in Qatar to provide an evidence-based assessment of any player who has suffered a brain injury, including recommendations from concussion experts regarding the player’s return to play.

Additional measures in place at the FIFA World Cup will include a medical replay tablet for each team doctor to review injury mechanisms, a FIFA Medical Coordinator overseeing the field-of-play services at each stadium, and an injury spotter, who will analyse any relevant medical incidents from the media tribune. The injury spotter, who will also use video replay, will alert the FIFA Medical Coordinator to any signs of a potentially serious injury.

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

A bespoke 24/7 sports cardiology service will also be offered to team doctors, enabling them to obtain an assessment of any player with symptoms potentially relating 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. The team doctors will be instrumental in maximising the protection of players’ health, and this workshop has been essential in terms of ensuring a fruitful cooperation in relation to a number of key topics,” commented Dr Massey.

FIFA’s member associations to receive FIFA Emergency Care Bags The team doctors of the participating member associations became the first recipients of the new FIFA Emergency Care 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, sequential fashion.

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