Welcome to the 34th edition of Football Medicine & Performance.
Over a year into the pandemic, professional football has begun to find its feet and navigate its way with fixtures rarely postponed and European competition continuing in the Men’s and Women’s game. The ‘knock-on’ effect of this is congested schedules, with interdisciplinary teams needing to carefully manage fatigue and its impact on performance and injury risk. The most successful teams in this unusual season, may well be the teams who can recover and adapt most effectively.
As well as this, there has been a great interest recently in the long-term impact of head injuries in football and the risk of dementia, with studies suggesting former footballers are three and a half times more likely to die of dementia than the general population. This has led to the parliament launching an inquiry into the link between sport and long-term brain injury to understand how best to tackle this. This will hopefully lead to more research on the topic to establish robust conclusions, with FIFA and the PFA issuing a call for research on the impact of neurodegenerative disorders on ex-footballers and in particular subgroups, which will certainly lead to evidence-based policy change. We have already seen the introduction of concussion substitutes by The International Football Association Board (IFAB), with Issa Diop of West Ham United being the first player to be replaced with a concussion substitution in the Premier League. We hope this will pave the way for changes to ensure player welfare is prioritised.
Finally, we are delighted Dr Andrew Shafik will be joining Fadi and Sean as a Senior Editor. Andrew, who works in Millwall’s Academy, has done an excellent job collating the Football Medicine & Performance podcasts. The three Senior Editors will oversee the wider Education Team which will encompass representatives from most disciplines within the interdisciplinary team. We will continue in these pages to try and bring the disciplines together, recognising the role that interdisciplinary collaboration has on enhancing player performance and well-being.
As ever, we hope you feel inspired and informed after reading Football Medicine & Performance.
Yours in football,
Dr Sean Carmody Dr Fadi Hassan Dr. Andrew Shafik
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