Sat, Aug 15, 2015 - Page 18 News List

FIFA steps in over medic practices

Reuters, LONDON

FIFA delivered what amounted to a rebuke to Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho on Thursday amid reports that he has banned the club’s first team doctor Eva Carneiro following her treatment of an injured player in a Premier League match.

FIFA chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak said that managers had no right to tell their medical staff whether they should go onto the pitch to treat a player and that ultimately the doctor was in charge of what happened on the pitch.

Carneiro and Chelsea physiotherapist Jon Fearn came on to treat Eden Hazard in added time of Chelsea’s Premier League game against Swansea City on Saturday last week.

It left Mourinho furious that the player then had to leave the field for treatment with Chelsea already reduced to 10 men following an earlier red card for goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Although both the referee and Hazard beckoned on the doctor, Mourinho said afterward he believed the player was not seriously injured and called his medical staff “impulsive and naive” in a TV interview.

While Chelsea have not commented, reports in the British media say he has subsequently banned Carneiro from the bench, training sessions and the team hotel.

Yet Dvorak told Sky Sports that he fully backed the doctor’s actions.

Asked how much say the manager should have if a player is injured, Dvorak said: “In medical aspects, in medical diagnosis, the manager has nothing to say.”

“This is our professional law and our ethical duty to look after the players’ health,” he said.

Asked if the manager could ever tell the medical team not to enter the field, Dvorak said: “I can’t see such a situation and we have to defend the position of the doctor.”

“Everyone involved has to respect the fact the doctor is in charge,” Dvorak added.

“I don’t want to interfere with the club as such, but I would endorse clearly what the team doctor and the physiotherapist did. When they were asked, they had to come on to the pitch,” he said.

Dvorak said that the doctor had to be on the bench to observe the game and was allowed on the field even without the referee’s permission if they saw a player suffer a suspected cardiac arrest or a head injury, including concussion.

“That is the sole decision of the doctor and we at FIFA will always endorse that,” he added.

The British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine said it supported the stance taken by the Premier League Doctors Group on Wednesday and called for a full review of the events at the game.

This was “essential to avoid any unnecessary risk to players in the future,” it said.

“Nothing takes precedence over the health and well-being of athletes,” the association said in a statement. “And whoever decides a player needs help, medical staff have an absolute obligation to fully assess the athlete until satisfied they are fit to continue participation.”

It added that “all those involved in football have a moral obligation to assist medical staff to the best of their ability to minimize any risk of serious harm to players.”

Mourinho’s behavior toward the Gibraltar-born Carneiro was “absolutely appalling,” former Liverpool head of sports science Peter Brukner told Talksport radio on Wednesday.

The Premier League Doctors Group said in their statement that removing the doctor from the team bench would be “unjust in the extreme,” because she was doing her job properly.

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