The Capital may soon be blessed with a State-of-the-Art Centre of Excellence Medical Centre, it was announced on the opening day of the four-day Football Medicine Regional Course, which kicked-off at Hotel Le Meridien on Monday (January 14).
Speaking at the Opening Ceremony Dato Gurcharan Singh, Chairman, AFC, Medical Committee, said: “It is important to have a FIFA Centre of Excellence in each and every Member Association of FIFA. In Asia, we have one in Doha. Probably there will be one more set up in Delhi in the next couple of years.”
Prof. Jiří Dvořák, Chief Medical Officer, FIFA was also present on the occasion as was Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, All India Football Confederation and Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, FIFA Regional Developmental Officer for South and Central Asia.
The statement was endorsed by Das who added: “The COE stays a part of our Developmental Programme. The topic may be up for discussion as and when Prof. Dvořák meets the Health Minister and the SAI Officials.”
The Course, a first of its kind initiative organised by the All India Football Federation in association with AFC and FIFA and has participants from over 12 countries taking part in it. There are 11 doctors from India as well.
Apart from Mr. Dvořák and Mr. Gurcharan Singh, the other lecturers are Prof. Brun Shane Perry of Australia (associated with AFC), Dr. Patrick Yung of Hong Kong (associated with AFC) and Dr. Jaspal Singh Sandhu of India (associated with AFC).
Prof. Dvořák who is currently working in close tandem with former Brazilian striker Ronaldo helping him sort out his overweight issue, further informed: “Medicine in football is of paramount importance. It is for the administrators to understand that a doctor is not merely in the side to quell with emergencies. It is much more than that.”
“The significance of this course is to offer optimum level of knowledge to all participating nations; to share expertise and experience based on evidence about prevention of injuries, anti-doping programmes and so on,” he added.
Explaining his point, Dvořák cited the example of 23-year old Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba who collapsed on the football pitch last year in March during their English Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur.
“Muamba collapsed due to cardiac arrest. We all know how ghastly the incident was. It made his teammates (Nigel Reo Cocker) realise that ‘life is more important than football’. To avoid such incidents, we now have the PCMA (Pre-Competition Medical Assessment) which is being made mandatory before every tournament.”
“Muamba recently visited our (FIFA) Headquarters and shared the emotional incident with us. He was told about the benefits and efficiency of PCMA.”
AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das emphasised that the likes of Jiri Dvorak and Gurcharan Singh ‘will bring a lot to the table’.
“This is the first time a Medical Conference is happening in India. I am privileged to be a part of it and I welcome our guests here. I am sure that the presence of renowned names like Jiri Dvorak and Gurucharan Singh will be very enlightening for the participants.”
He continued: “The slogan Football for Health (F-MARC, 1994) will gain momentum in India also and medicine is an integral part of our developmental programme.”
Prof. Dvořák recollected: “I remember last year in March when we were having the annual meeting of all the developmental officers, Shaji Prabhakaran (FIFA Regional Developmental Officer, South and Central Asia) asked me: ‘Why don’t you come to India?’ It was his initiative and today I am here.”
The Seminar concludes on Friday (January 18, 2013).
(AIFF Press Release)