New FIFA Medical Centre set to provide the best care for footballers

2 July 2018

Testing client in the gait lab

A centre focussing on football, medicine, sports science and biomechanics, and involving researchers at the School of Engineering at Cardiff University, has been formally recognised by the world governing body for football, FIFA, as a Medical Centre of Excellence.

This recognition is a result of the collaboration between Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, FIFA and the Football Association of Wales (FAW), along with other national governing bodies, who together have been working to improve applied sports medicine for footballers.

The purpose of the FAW Centre is to provide the best in medical care to all those participating in the game of football including recreational and professional players across all levels, irrespective of age or gender.

As well as providing injury analysis, assessment and rehabilitation, the centre will focus on helping to prevent injuries and improving players’ performance.

The centre will also foster collaboration and implement novel research and development to improve players’ health.

Professor Len Nokes from Cardiff University, who has been part of the team involved in the collaborative centre, said: “This recognition and accreditation as a Medical Centre of Excellence by FIFA will allow us to develop our work on improving the well-being of all those who play football, whether as a profession or simply for recreation. It will enable us to provide a more holistic approach to the prevention and treatment of injuries for a wide range of footballers.”

The multidisciplinary team who have been leading the development of the centre includes Professor Nokes, Mr Sean Connelly, Manager of Medical Support for the FAW, and Professor Gareth Irwin and Dr Huw Wiltshire, both from the Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Professor Irwin said: "Cardiff Met and our partners, are leading the way in Wales and the UK in football medicine and sports science practice and research. This is an exciting time for the development of meaningful, world leading medical science and practice in Wales, as we move forward with our partners at Cardiff University and the FAW."

Mr Connelly said: “I’m delighted that the FAW will be working closely with both Universities to help drive forward all aspects of the game. Collectively we have a great opportunity to show the global football community what we are doing here in Wales.”

The centre will also have an educational role with the provision of training facilities to help educate the next generation of sports scientists specializing in football.