Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center

Main content of the page

Information about a piece of news titled Health conditions detected in a comprehensive periodic health evaluation of 558 professional football players

Health conditions detected in a comprehensive periodic health evaluation of 558 professional football players


A recently published study football players in Qatar revealed that a targeted comprehensive Periodic Health Evaluation (PHE) detected a high prevalence of health conditions requiring treatment, further investigations or recommendation to follow-up.

However, only a few of the health conditions impacted on clearance for participation in football.

Why Periodic Health Evaluation of athletes?

Injury and illness are common in footballers. The extent of PHE varies between sport federations from a short screening questionnaire to a comprehensive assessment that may include electrocardiogram (ECG) and echocardiography as well as an extensive general medical and musculoskeletal assessment.

FIFA encourage all football teams at elite level to complete the football-specific Pre-Competition Medical Assessment (PCMA). However, there is limited research into the effectiveness of PHE, with the efficacy of PHE detecting serious risk factors and health conditions being questioned.

The purpose of this study was to assess health conditions detected by a comprehensive PHE in professional male football players and evaluate their consequences for participation clearance.

Cross-sectional study: 2013-2014

A total of 558 professional football players in Qatar completed a PHE prior to the 2013 or 2014 seasons: history, general medical (including blood test), cardiovascular (12-lead ECG and echocardiography), and a musculoskeletal examination, including a specific test battery targeting lower extremity strength and flexibility.

Based on the PHE, players were either cleared or not cleared for participation.

We defined as health condition as any condition sufficient to require either treatment, further investigation, or recommendation to follow-up, adds Arnhild Bakken (to the left).

Predictive value of PHE unknown

A PHE detected at least one health condition in 95.5% of players. However, these have low impact on clearance for participation in football. The predictive value on future health risk is still unknown.

The study was peformed at Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital in Doha, Qatar, and is part of a larger PhD project led by a PhD student at the Oslo Sport Trauma Research Center, Arnhild Bakken. 

Read the paper in BJSM.