Conference convened leaders across sports and geographies to share learnings and data with the common goal of improving athlete protection and care

LONDON, U.K. (October 15, 2018) —The Australian Football League (AFL), Canadian Football League (CFL), National Football League (NFL) and World Rugby brought together a diverse group of leaders in sports medicine to discuss patient care and injury prevention during a two-day conference held October 12 and 13 in London, U.K.

The meeting was an opportunity for various sports leagues from around the world to compare procedures and protocols, share research findings and applicable learnings, and identify future opportunities for research and collaboration to further the common goal of improved player health and safety at all levels of the affiliated sports.

AFL Medical Director Dr. Peter Harcourt said: “International sports medicine meetings such as these where peak sporting bodies openly discuss difficult and emerging health care issues are important. The AFL shares its own experiences and hears about what other sporting bodies are doing on a variety of issues including athlete welfare, mental health, concussion and injury prevention. The translation of initiatives from elite sport to community level is also discussed so that Australian Rules players at all levels will benefit.”

“We are all striving to do what’s best for the health and safety of our players and our sport. Sharing and learning from leaders from different medical specialties will help us be better,” said CFL Vice President, Football Operations & Player Safety, Kevin McDonald. “The chance to collaborate on and review best practices, new initiatives and research findings helps us evaluate our protocols against the best current information available and helps us make informed decisions moving forward.”

“The NFL is in constant pursuit of information in our ongoing effort to improve player safety and evolve our game,” said NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills. “This meeting with other leaders in sports medicine from around the world helps ensure the policies and protocols designed to protect athletes are informed by the latest scientific and medical information available.”

World Rugby Chief Medical Officer Dr. Martin Raftery said: “World Rugby is committed to an evidence-based approach to injury-prevention in the sport and collaboration with other leading contact sports to share knowledge, research and strategies is an important part of the process. There is a tremendous amount of excellent work going on across sports and collectively we are committed to advancing athlete welfare on and off the field of play.”

The agenda for the two-day conference covered a wide range of topics, from concussion diagnosis and treatment, to behavioral and mental health, gender issues, sports performance, educational efforts, and injury prevention strategies. 

In addition to the four host organizations, other participants and attendees included the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), National Hockey League (NHL), National Rugby League (NRL), International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI), England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), International Cricket Council (ICC), International Ski Federation (FIS), International Basketball Association (FIBA), Cricket Australia, University College London (UCL), International Concussion & Head Injury Research Foundation (ICHIRF), and Institute for Sport, Exercise, and Health (ISEH).

Lucas Barrett

Manager, Communications & Public Affairs, Canadian Football League

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