Mehiläinen Sports Hospital involved in FIFPro’s international football research project

FIFPro, the International Federation of Professional Footballer’s Associations, is initiating a ten-year research project monitoring the health of professional football players. Mehiläinen Sports Hospital has been invited to contribute its special expertise in diagnosing sports injuries and to coordinate the Nordic parts of the study.

The research will follow the state of health of several hundred ex-professional footballers after the end of their careers.
“Particular attention will be paid to the consequences in later life of head and knee injuries obtained during their careers, and to the development of the athletes’ cardiac health,” explains Orthopedist Jussi Rantanen, Chief Surgeon at Mehiläinen Sports Hospital in Turku and medical director of Mehiläinen Sports Hospital.

Mehiläinen is one of around ten European research units involved in the project, which is led by the University of Amsterdam. Among other things, Mehiläinen will carry out clinical and laboratory studies related to the monitoring, as well as magnetic resonance imaging. The hospital’s orthopedists will also be among the authors of the research reports to be published at the end.

“Being involved in this project reinforces Mehiläinen Sports Hospital’s status as a major Nordic player in sports medicine. Our involvement will also allow us to maintain and expand our network of contacts at the heart of European sports medicine,” Rantanen says.

“The Football Players’ Association of Finland has had a long and fruitful collaboration with Mehiläinen Sports Hospital in Turku, consulting the hospital’s experts on diverse issues related to footballers’ health,” explains Markus Juhola, Executive Director of the Finnish member association of FIFPro.

The objective of the study is to learn how typical football injuries can be prevented better in the future, and how the overall health of athletes can be fostered both during and after their careers.

“This study is very interesting for players. For Finnish players it will give an excellent point of comparison with international fields and health care. It will also be very significant for the individuals involved to receive up-to-date information on their own state of health, both during their active careers and for several years after retirement,” Juhola continues.

The project kick off on 16 October 2019 at a symposium on Health Challenges in Professional Football in London, in which Mehiläinen Sports Hospital is involved, with Jussi Rantanen being one of the chairs of the symposium.