SA hosts Fifa Centre of Excellence

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The Centre for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand is one of five institutions globally accredited by Fifa as offering expert medical care to football players.

It follows the roaring success of the first Fifa Medical Centre of Excellence opened at the Schulthness Clinic in Switzerland in 2005.

Victor Ramathesele, who is a Fifa medical science subcommittee member and also chief medical officer of the 2010 Local Organising Committee, said the five new centres were spread according to the continents.

"There were a number of clinics who submitted their bids that we discussed at our meeting in Zurich on November 2, where a decision was taken, Ramathesele said.

"There were various clinics in the world encouraged by Fifa to apply for accreditation as medical clinics of excellence. The aim is to recognise the clinics that have for sometime demonstrated medical expertise and commitment to football."

The other four are Santa Monica Orthopedic and Sports Medicine in the United States, Adidas Sport Medical Centre in New Zealand, St Marianna University School of Medicine in Japan and Orthocentre of the Technical University in Munich.

"The five centres will deal with the short- and long-term health of the players," said Ramathesele.

"The five centres will help prevent injuries, with early detection of risk factors and provide state-of-the-art therapy services. Fifa is committed to protecting and improving the health in general of players throughout the world.

"The centres will deal with the physical and mental health of players and their well-being. They will also foster collaboration with other institutions in the region and continentally.

"In addition, the centres will also support research and education in line with Fifa's medical and research centre policy."