The importance of the football team doctor has increased gradually due to the impact this sport is acquiring on a global level. The professionalisation of all areas of sport, the emergence of technology for monitoring physical activity, nutrition and many other factors mean that the team doctor has to evolve, keep learning and updating, adapting to modern times.
The role of the doctor within a national team is not limited to treating a player if he has an injury. It is a multi-tasking job which, depending on the event to be played, can start months before the competition.
It is important to have a team (doctors, physiotherapists, physical trainers, nutritionists) and to develop a multidisciplinary work in order to prepare the player to confront the matches as well as possible.
The doctor always wants to avoid injury to the player, so it is important to focus on injury prevention. Proper planning of travel, especially if it is very long or with jetlag, meals, rest and hydration are essential to ensure the team recovers properly.
We are currently living with a coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 protocols are essential in order to create a safe working environment. This involves multiple security measures, constant testing, social distancing and hygienic measures to ensure a safe work environment.
It is important to contact nearby hospitals in order to have medical coverage in case of an emergency, whether on the football field or at the training camp. Be prepared for any emergency and react quickly and efficiently.
At the European Football Championship in Denmark we lived a dramatic situation, almost a tragedy. But thanks to the speed and good preparation of our Danish colleagues, we were able to save the player’s life. We are prepared for these situations, we train, we update our knowledge with different protocols to be able to deal with them as best as possible.
Besides management, coordination and emergency care if necessary, the doctor must be a person close to the football player. He should not go beyond friendship, but he should be close to the player, with kindness and professionalism. These are long stays, often in foreign countries and usually in hotels, where it is not easy for many people to live together for a long period of time. Group therapies and relaxing moments are essential for the good development of the team.
In short, I can say that it is an exciting job, sacrificing and which involves long working days, but very rewarding, especially if it is combined with a victory.