A Bulgarian Football Union (BFS) doctor was able to save a player's life in a recent domestic Under-17 match – and says his medical training under the UEFA Football Doctor Education Programme (FDEP) played a crucial role.
Zdravko Taralov, who attended an FDEP workshop in Vienna earlier this year, was a pitchside emergency doctor at the game between PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv 1936 and PFC Beroe Stara Zagora.
"During the second half, two players collided, with the Beroe Stara Zagora player being caught in the face by the Lokomotiv player's head," explained Dr Taralov. "He suffered a lacerated lip and swallowed his tongue. I attended to the injured player and found that he had an airway obstruction and suffered a hypoxic convulsion, which was an extremely serious situation.
"Thanks to the emergency aid skills I had learned on the UEFA Football Doctor Education Programme, I was well-prepared and confident in treating the player, and it was a great outcome that he was saved and transported safely to hospital," Dr Taralov added.
"It just shows how important it is for all football doctors to be trained and prepared, and how important the UEFA course has been, as you never know when you might be needed to save a life." UEFA's Medical Committee has also welcomed this positive news from Bulgaria.
The FDEP was launched in 2011 with the objective of disseminating advice and information concerning the work undertaken by the modern football doctor. Topics include emergency treatment of players, roles and responsibilities of the football medic, diagnosis and treatment of injuries, prevention and rehabilitation of injuries, and anti-doping. Content has been developed in conjunction with the UEFA Medical Committee and sports medicine experts.
Programme content is being filtered down through the member associations via the hosting of events at national level. Consequently, FA medical representatives are being helped to transfer the knowledge shared in senior international football down to the medical staff and club doctors at all levels.
UEFA is lending medical emergency training kit and is supplying educational tools such as technical handbooks, trained course delegates to offer invaluable advice, and an extensive online platform with learning facilities.
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