SAO PAULO: Representatives from FIFA, the Local Organising Committee of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and the Brazilian government met in Sao Paulo on 15 February to discuss issues related to health and medical care at the World Cup.

Topics included emergency services at stadiums; the health of supporters, visitors and teams; climate and heat; medical testing of players before the tournament; antidoping control during the event, and the FIFA 11 for Health program, which will operate in the 12 World Cup host cities.

FIFA Chief Medical Officer Prof Jiri Dvorak, LOC General Medical Coordinator Luis Fernando Correia, Coordinator of the FIFA 11 for Health program Dr Edilson Thiele, and the Brazilian Minister for Health, Ademar Arthur Chioro dos Reis, highlighted the positive legacies of the FIFA World Cup 2014 in the area of health.

Key statements from the press conference below:

FIFA Chief Medical Officer Prof. Jiri Dvorak

“Our antidoping strategy is focused on education and prevention and was already up and running during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013. Players will provide blood and urine samples as part of a new strategy against doping, which will involve the creation of a biological profile of each player. From now on every player competing in the FIFA World Cup Brazil could be tested at least once, at any time, in any part of the world.”

“With respect to the high temperatures in some parts of Brazil during the competition, all the decisions we make are based on scientific data. We performed a study this summer in Turkey, when we measured the temperature of players during a game, and published the results in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

“We don’t think the conditions in Brazil will be as difficult as people are saying. We can introduce extra water breaks and provide players with cold towels where necessary, but that’s a medical decision that will be judged on a case by case basis, before each game, by our team of health professionals. We’re very well prepared and will do everything we can to preserve players’ health.”

“We’re very happy with the support the Brazilian government has given the 11 for Health program and we’re certain that it will be one of the legacies of the FIFA World Cup for Brazil. Football has an incredible influence. When Messi or Neymar talk about the importance of health it has a far greater impact on a child than when a doctor does the same.”

LOC General Medical Coordinator Luis Fernando Correia

“It is the responsibility of the Local Organising Committee to look after the health of spectators and teams inside the stadiums and at team training centres. We have created a standardised medical kit for first aid teams which includes an automated external defibrillator, equipment that could save lives on the field. We want the use of this device to become standard in Brazilian stadiums after the FIFA World Cup.”

Coordinator of the 11 for Health program in Brazil Dr Edilson Thiele

“The 11 for Health program is one of the great legacies of the FIFA World Cup for Brazil. A project that uses football to encourage health can make a huge difference in our country. We began the project in Brazil with 450 children from 15 public schools in Curitiba. They were provided with information and took part in activities that promoted a healthy lifestyle, the playing of sport, and the prevention of illness. The idea is that in 2015 millions of children across the world will participate in this program. We’re relying on help from the Brazilian authorities and from the Ministry of Health to expand the program in Brazil.”

Minister of Health Ademar Arthur Chioro dos Reis

“We have created a set of actions aimed at the monitoring of health and the provision of public and private health care at the FIFA World Cup. We have created 13 integrated centres as part of a combined overall operation, a model that was tested successfully during the FIFA Confederations Cup. It is important to stress that sporting events don’t affect routine healthcare.

“Only between 1% and 2% of people who go to matches will require medical treatment and of those only 0.5% will need to be taken to a healthcare facility. In addition to the long-term material benefits of the World Cup, which are related to the improvement of infrastructure and services, there will also be the more intangible benefit of programs and campaigns aimed at encouraging and preserving good health, such as the Healthy Traveller website, the Good Health at the World Cup 2014 app, and the Protect the Goal campaign, aimed at the prevention of HIV.”

“The 11 for Health program is highly relevant to Brazilian society. It is a program that aims to increase awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and how to achieve it, which connects to our Health in Schools program. Together with FIFA, we’re going to score a goal for good health.”