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FIFPro is today announcing a ground-breaking longitudinal study into the health of 200 professional football players.

Over the course of the next decade, researchers will repeatedly track the cartilage degeneration, mental health, neurocognitive decline and cardiovascular health of the footballers, currently aged between 27 and 29. The players are based in Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

The project is being co-funded by the London-based Drake FoundationAmsterdam University Medical Centers and Finland’s Mehiläinen NEO Hospital. By identifying health changes in footballers during and after their careers the research will help develop preventive and curative measures for future generations of players.

“This will be the most comprehensive study of its kind in professional football,” FIFPro Chief Medical Officer Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge, who is coordinating the study, said. “We will track the mental, musculoskeletal, neurocognitive and cardiovascular health of players in the later years of their career and first years of their life after football.

“This is a life-changing period for many players and tracking them during this period has never been done in such detail.

“FIFPro has conducted research on the mental health and cartilage degeneration of footballers that found these to be significant issues. This 10-year longitudinal study will provide more in-depth evidence about these areas and also cover new ground.

“We look forward to working with our partners and players around Europe over the coming years on this important project.”

symposium – The Health Challenges in Professional Football – at Arsenal’s Emirates stadium on Wednesday October 16th will officially mark the launch of the study.

Dr. Charlotte Cowie of England’s Football Association, former Real Madrid physician Dr. Luis Serratosa and Arsenal’s Dr. Gary O’Driscoll will be among the speakers at the symposiumalong with Marco van Basten, the three-time Ballon d’Or winner who played for Ajax, AC Milan and Netherlands.


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