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Professional soccer players in region with very hot sun – 89 percent low vitamin D – March 2016

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

Br J Sports Med. 2016 Mar 24. pii: bjsports-2015-095829. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2015-095829.
Bakken A1, Targett S2, Bere T3, Adamuz MC2, Tol JL4, Whiteley R2, Wilson MG5, Witvrouw E2, Khan KM2, Bahr R1.

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1Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar Department of Sports Medicine, Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway.
2Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar.
3Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar Department of Orthopaedics, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
4Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar The Sports Physician Group, Department of Sports Medicine, St Lucas Andreas Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Amsterdam Center of Evidence Based Sports Medicine, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
5Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar Research Institute of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK Research Institute of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Canberra, Australia.

Despite the widespread use of periodic health evaluation (PHE) to detect and prevent injury and illness in athletes, its effectiveness in detecting health conditions and relevant risk factors is still debated.
To assess health conditions detected by a comprehensive PHE in professional male football players and evaluate their consequences for participation clearance.
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. On the basis of the PHE, players were either cleared or not cleared for participation.
In 533 players (95.5%), at least one health condition was detected requiring treatment or follow-up.
Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency (≤30 ng/mL) was the most common medical condition (n=499, 89.4%), followed by hepatitis B non-immunity or infection (n=164, 29.4%). Cardiac screening identified 48 players (8.6%) with one or more abnormal findings (ECG (n=19, 3.4%) and echocardiography (n=14, 2.5%)). Musculoskeletal conditions were observed in 180 players (32.3%); injuries to or strength deficits of the hip/groin and thigh accounted for the largest proportion. Medical clearance was temporarily not given in 69 players (12.4%), while further examinations were being conducted. One player was disqualified from competitive football.
PHE revealed a high prevalence of health conditions requiring treatment or follow-up in professional footballers; however, only 12.4% of conditions impacted on final clearance for participation.

PMID: 27012663

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