FIFPro to track player health through new 10-year research study

May 7 – World player union FIFPro has announced the start of 10-year study into the health of professional football players.

The study will begin with 200 players aged between 27 and 29 who are based in Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. It is being co-funded by the London-based Drake Foundation, Amsterdam University Medical Centers and Finland’s Mehiläinen NEO Hospital.

Researchers will track the cartilage degeneration, mental health, neurocognitive decline and cardiovascular health of the players with the objective of “identifying health changes in footballers during and after their careers the research will help develop preventive and curative measures for future generations of players,” said a FIFPro release.

“This will be the most comprehensive study of its kind in professional football,”said FIFPro Chief Medical Officer Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge, who is coordinating the study. “We will track the mental, musculoskeletal, neurocognitive and cardiovascular health of players in the later years of their career and first years of their life after football.

“This is a life-changing period for many players and tracking them during this period has never been done in such detail.

“FIFPro has conducted research on the mental health and cartilage degeneration of footballers that found these to be significant issues. This 10-year longitudinal study will provide more in-depth evidence about these areas and also cover new ground.

“We look forward to working with our partners and players around Europe over the coming years on this important project.”

A symposium – The Health Challenges in Professional Football – at Arsenal’s Emirates stadium on Wednesday October 16 will mark the launch of the study.

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