In the meeting organized by Aic and Aiac called “The health of the footballer” the theme of “super activity” was explored starting from current scientific knowledge
The time required for a footballer to regain physical and mental fitness after a match or after a cycle of close matches was the focus of the conference “The Health of the Footballer” organized by the Italian Footballers’ Association and the Italian Coaches’ Association yesterday in Great Hall of the Acqua Acetosa Olympic Training Center in Rome. The increase in official matches is a theme deeply felt by the players and coaches who look with concern at the multiplication of official commitments which will become even heavier from 2024 onwards, with the change of formula of the Champions League (100 more matches per season) and the introduction of the new Club World Cup.
Current scientific knowledge states that, in conditions of “ordinary stress”, going beyond the “limit” of one game every four days, the physical integrity of the athlete is put at real risk. And even the players are aware of it. It is evident by carefully reading the results of the survey conducted between 15 March and 15 May and in which Serie A players and technical staff took part. Among those who replied to the questionnaire, 19% are goalkeepers, 33% defenders, 28% midfielders and 20% forwards; 33% are between the ages of 18 and 24, 35% between the ages of 25 and 29, 24% between the ages of 30 and 34 and the remaining 8% over the age of 35. At the professional career level, the 21% played one to 4 seasons, 39% played 5 to 9, 27% played 10 to 14, and 13% more than 15 championships. When asked “how many days does it take to recover full physical efficiency after an official match” 56% answered 2 days, while 32% 3 days. If, on the other hand, we talk about the “desire to play” after an official match, 30% answered that it takes 3 days, 26% 2 and 25% just one day. 55% believe that it takes 3 days to recover “full competitiveness after 2 games in 7 days” (21% 2 and 15% 4), and 30% consider it necessary 3 days to regain “full competitiveness after 3 games in 7 days” (26% 5 and 24% 4). Finally, 24% of footballers think that it takes 3 days to recover “full competitiveness after 4 games in 12 days”.
The conference was attended by AIAC president Renzo Ulivieri, AIC president Umberto Calcagno and professor Carlo Castagna of the biomechanics laboratory of the FIGC Technical Sector, professor Carlo Vercelli, head of the Juventus psychological area and professor Piero Volpi, medical director of Inter. The objective of the discussion was to start an in-depth discussion starting from a fixed point: health is an incompressible right (unlike the match calendar) as well as a dutiful trade union protection to be guaranteed to all players and female footballers, increasingly stressed because, to broaden the base of consumers or spectators in front of the TV and in the stadium, but also of sponsors, the number of matches has been increased year after year. It is therefore essential to look for alternatives to combine the essential needs of the market with the equally essential limits to the use of human resources which are at the heart of a business model called “sport”. Renzo Ulivieri was very clear in this regard: “Exploring the question of the footballer’s health is not a lack of sensitivity and respect in the face of the endemic scourge of the hundreds of deaths at work in our country. But Serie A and Serie B health doesn’t exist for us. Nor can the quick logic be accepted: I pay you, you run. Logic followed by Fifa, which in Qatar chased the mirage of effective playing time… The truth is that this meeting must be a starting point. Playing too much lowers the quality of the show, that’s a fact. And the stadiums are filling up again not because of the quality of the game but because of the desire to be together again after the pandemic. Comparisons like these are necessary, to give ideas, to prevent a stressed system from finding illegal shortcuts”. He was echoed by Umberto Calcagno, number one of the Aic. “When it comes to rest to protect the health of players, the risk is always that of being exploited. However, the reality is that we are not talking about holidays, but about recovery, that is, a necessary period, in which we take the opportunity to… build what a high-level athlete must do in order to regenerate and recondition himself. We’re talking about players from the top part of our world who need the utmost respect and we have to talk about them as a system because we have the tools to do it. We have sufficient data to thoroughly analyze the problem and we also have a non-negligible aspect which is the control of all the activities that a player carries out off the pitch since all the registered players are in any case under the strict control of the clubs. The truth is that the blanket is short: perhaps one of the solutions could be to reduce the number of teams in our tournaments, but in the international field, as soon as there are holes in the calendar, we invent new competitions”.
25 maggio – 19:41
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