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Am J Sports Med. 2009 Feb;37(2):260-5. doi: 10.1177/0363546508324307. Epub 2008 Oct 10.

The use and abuse of painkillers in international soccer: data from 6 FIFA tournaments for female and youth players.

Author information

1
FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Center (F-MARC), Lengghalde 2, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland. Philippe.Tscholl@access.unizh.ch

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

It is known that in professional men's soccer the consumption of prescription medication is high.

PURPOSE:

The intake of medication in female and adolescent male soccer players has not yet been investigated.

STUDY DESIGN:

Descriptive epidemiology study.

MATERIAL:

Team physicians reported 10,456 uses of medication 72 hours before each match in 2488 soccer players participating in 6 international soccer tournaments.

RESULTS:

The use of a total of 6577 medical substances was reported, leading to an average intake of 0.63 substances per player per match (under-17s, 0.51; under-20s, 0.51; women, 1.0; P < or = .001 [without contraceptive medication, 0.85; P < .001]). Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were the most commonly prescribed type of medication in all tournaments. Women's soccer had the highest percentage of players using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs per match (under-17s, 17.3%; under-20s, 21.4%; women, 30.7%; P < or = .001). Relatively few players were taking beta(2)-agonists for the treatment of asthma (under-17s, 1.3%; under-20s, 1.3%; women, 4.3%; P < or = .001).

CONCLUSION:

These findings highlight the existing problem of excessive medication use in international top-level women's and male youth soccer nearly to the same extent as in men's soccer. Further steps need to be taken to understand the rationale underlying the sports physicians' practice and to plan educational programs to avoid the abuse of prescription medication.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

Continued abuse of medication may otherwise not only negatively influence the quality of the game but also the health status of the players.

Comment in

PMID:
18849466
DOI:
10.1177/0363546508324307
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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