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On the occasion of the centennial year of the two greatest Croatian soccer teams: brief review of the evidence base for team physicians

Authors
Journal
Croatian Medical Journal
0353-9504
Publisher
Croatian Medical Journal
Publication Date
Volume
52
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3325/cmj.2011.52.1
Keywords
  • Cover Page
Disciplines
  • Medicine

Abstract

1 www.cmj.hr COVER PAGE doi: 10.3325/cmj.2011.52.1 On occasion of the centennial year of the two greatest Croatian soccer teams: brief review of the evidence base for team physicians Dario Sambunjak Director, Croatian Branch of the Italian Cochrane Centre [email protected] Jurica Rakić Hajduk team physician [email protected] There is an expression that “soccer is the most important unimportant thing in the world.” Although everyone ad- mits it is “only a game,” enormous importance is attached to it. Social significance of this sport is so great that it in- evitably affects the health of people. In one of the most extreme examples, a disagreement at a soccer match sparked a war between two Central American countries, leaving thousands of people dead or displaced (1). But this notorious event is just the tip of the iceberg. Days when soccer games take place – usually Sundays – are associ- ated with a rise in violence, while the soccer fever during great international contests, such as the World Cup or Euro Cup, results in an increased number of emergency calls to ambulance services (2). Fans intuitively know that loud and passionate cheering can influence refereeing decisions in favor of their team (3), but they are perhaps less aware that such behavior is associated with a significant increase in rates of acute cardiovascular events (4,5). Rhetoric of vio- lence is obvious when fans metaphorically demand from players to “die on the soccer field,” but unfortunately, it is not unheard of that players die on the soccer field not only metaphorically but literally (6). Soccer team physicians have very limited power in pre- venting public and personal health hazards generated by overenthusiastic soccer aficionados. Their main duty is to keep their players in the best possible health condition to bear the strain of a professional soccer career. Top-tier soccer teams can afford high-profile and expensive tech- nologies to fine-tune their players’

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