International research confirms the positive impact of participation in football recreational activity, training and play on physical health, inclusive of improved body weight, cholesterol, blood pressure etc. Regular football training and play also has a positive benefit on social and mental wellbeing. Children’s health also benefits from regular football participation.
Diabetes, obesity, cigarette smoking, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure poses an increased health risk. A family history of heart attack in a first degree male relative (father or brother) aged less than 55 years old or first degree female relative aged under 65 years old is a cardiac risk factor. Indigenous Australians also have a higher incidence of heart disease. A player with any of these risk factors or illnesses should consider medical screening by a doctor prior to vigorous football activity.
An adult player over 35 years of age is also recommended to have a health check with a GP, sports doctor or Sports Physician prior to participation in any vigorous football training or playing.
It is important to follow a graduated upgrade of physical training to improve fitness capacity prior to match play.
FFA is collaborating with FIFA in conducting a Sudden Death/Sudden Cardiac Collapse Registry in football for the purpose of research into the prevention of adverse cardiac events in football. There is a link on the FFA website to a form that can be completed if there is a sudden death incident (from a cardiac or other cause), or sudden cardiac collapse that occurs at any level of football participation, whether training or playing. This form can be completed by any bystander to the incident or any club official, and it will be received automatically at FFA once completed and submitted.
To access the online form, please click on this link: https://ffa.formstack.com/forms/untitled_form_48
The positive health impact of participation in football training or playing is undisputed and the registry is a further example of FFA’s commitment to ongoing research towards optimum player welfare.
Dr Mark Jones
Head of Medical Services, FFA
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