October 13, 2021

Thinking Football Webinar: “Integrated Planning on Medical Safety”

October 13, 2021

Thinking Football Webinar: “Integrated Planning on Medical Safety”

The first panel of the day had the presence of the speaker Morten Boesen, a Physician for the Danish Football Association

In yet another webinar held by Liga Portugal, as a part of the promotion campaign for Thinking Football – an event that will take place in November of 2022 –, the first panel, with the name of “Integrated Planning on Medical Safety”, counted with Morten Boesen, a Physician for the Danish Football Association, as a speaker, and the journalist Cláudia Lopes as a moderator.

A big name in the field that got even more attention after the 2020 European Championship with his crucial intervention to save the life of the player Christian Eriksen.


Should football be more prepared for situations like this?

“I think that all the protocols were well planned in the European Championship. And, thankfully, everything went well, and that makes us very happy. We were prepared for a situation like this here in Denmark, but the truth is that this situation could have had a different outcome in another country or League. That’s the main thing to consider”.


Symbiosis of efforts between Medics, paramedics, and the rest of the staff 

“It is extremely important for all the members to be aware of the protocols that must be followed in each situation. For instance, when they arrive in a different country, the National Team’s physicians must speak with the leading physicians of every National Team since they are the ones in charge of the operation. That’s an important job that requires great care from all the people involved”.


Christian Eriksen’s case

“This case took place in an organized and ready stadium, and that was really important for Christian. But that’s not always the case. We learned that it’s crucial to have the right conditions and duly trained professionals. In Denmark, our professionals have continuous training, and that was really important”.

“In regard to Christian continuing his career, that’s always going to be his responsibility. I don’t know if Eriksen can keep playing football, that’s up to him. If he feels well and happy with that decision, then he should return. But that’s up to him and his family”.


Crucial equipment to save players’ lives 

“A defibrillator, a stretcher, and professionals that know the CPR procedures. I think that in the case of Portugal and Denmark, in the main sports venues, the necessary equipment to face these situations is there. It may not be enough, but this way we can be sure that we did everything that could be done to save the player. There are Basic Life Support Courses that are important for every person to complete”.


Readiness of FIFA for these situations 

“We played against Moldavia this week and we thought that the protocol was well prepared. I don’t know the quality of the near hospitals in these countries, so that will always be a risk factor, but I think that, in general, there’s adequate preparation for international fixtures”.


The importance of forums to discuss this kind of situations

“We must take into consideration that this is a sport with healthy men and women athletes, but I think we’ve already learned that we must always have the necessary equipment in the case of an emergency, as we never know what might happen. FIFA could hold conferences about that, but I think it’s up to the local Physicians Associations to set the protocols”.


Why do these cases keep happening?

“We can all see that it could happen to anyone. We perform many tests, including heart-related ones, but in many of these situations, there isn’t anything wrong detected. Many thorough screenings are performed and the majority of problems, if they exist, are found, but many problems may be impossible to detect”.


Did the Christian Eriksen case have anything to do with the COVID-19 vaccine?

“There’s no relation whatsoever. The athlete wasn’t infected with COVID-19 and hadn’t been vaccinated yet”. 


The importance of these cases being discussed in the media

“I think there are a lot of discussions these days. We’re already really focused, and I think there are other topics that we can dwell on. This had a big impact in Denmark, many volunteers took cardiology-related courses and there has been an increase in the number of defibrillators in many locations”. 


Difficulty in keeping the group focused for the rest of the competition

“It was really tough. We had the help of experts, also because each player reacted differently. After this, even I needed to talk with experts because it was a traumatic experience in which we create many different scenarios in our heads. I thought about it day and night, but we were lucky to have a lot of help from the Danish Government”.


Special protocol to follow up on players infected with COVID-19

“In a National Team, it’s really hard, since we generally collaborate with the clubs. At most, we can encourage players to get vaccinated. We have a protocol in place, but the decision to get vaccinated will always be up to each player”.


COVID-19 experience

“It brought plenty of changes to our behaviors and routines. We needed to adapt, but the truth is that we learned how to live with it and now I think the situation is controlled here in Denmark, even though there are still some precautions that are important to have”. 


Consequences of COVID-19 on players

“We follow up on each case with cardiac screenings and tests. There has been a major joint effort to learn more about the long-term consequences, but the truth is that there’s still a lot of work taking place right now and there are many things that we still don’t know”.