The study will track the mental wellbeing of all of the players, along with the functioning of their brain, heart and muscles, during their career and in the first years after they leave the game.
FIFPRO Chief Medical Officer Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge, who is leading the research, gives an update on the project which is co-funded by the Drake Foundation (England), healthcare company Mehiläinen (Finland) and Push Sports (The Netherlands).
How is the research going so far?
We have made a good start, with about 150 players who have completed online surveys about mental health, joint pain, concussions and injuries. They have completed tests to analyze their cognitive functions, and have undergone a medical exam to measure blood pressure and heart capacities via electrocardiogram. Most included players are very motivated about their health and lifestyle, they want to be closely involved. By being part of this research, they are getting a lot of free advice and educational material.
Where are the players from?
Among other countries, they play in the men’s Premier League and Women’s Super League in England as well as championships in Finland, France and The Netherlands. The players are aged from 24 to 30. Once the COVID-19 pandemics allows, they will also undergo X-rays of their hips, knees and ankles to measure cartilage damage. The project involves considerable time and effort but should provide valuable outcomes not only to the players involved but also football doctors and future generations of players.