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Hong Kong: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Travelling Fellow for Football Medicine, held in Hong Kong for the second time, concluded on Tuesday.

The programme was launched in 2012 with the objective to increase the pool of Asian football medicine experts trained in interventional programmes to prevent injuries and illnesses. It is also aimed to enhance performance and health through evidence-based scientific research as well as updated modern knowledge. At its core, the programme initiated research in football medicine to improve the level of care of players.

Aside from Hong Kong, three other host countries - Qatar, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates - were chosen this year. Three fellows from AFC Member Associations - Assistant Professor Luo Anmin (China PR), Police Major Dr Akegapon Tangmanasakul (Thailand) and Dr Bahar Hassanmirzaei (Islamic Republic of Iran) - were chosen to participate in the programme.

The Hong Kong Football Association Limited  hosted the previous programme in 2014. The delegates this year visited various medical centres in Hong Kong such as the Hong Kong Sports Institute Limited, Hong Kong Jockey Club Sports Medicine and Health Centre as well as affiliated medical centres.

The Hong Kong Sports Institute Limited is an elite sport training system delivery agent of the government of Hong Kong that aims to provide an environment in which sport talent can be identified, nurtured and developed to pursue excellence in sports. It provides state-of-the-art sports facilities and support to athletes in the areas of elite coaching and training, sports science, sports medicine, strength and conditioning, athlete affairs and education, applied research and sports information.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Sports Medicine and Health Centre is under the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust that supports two universities, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Collaboration with sports scientists, physicians and allied health professionals in PolyU and CUHK is crucial to the success of integrated sports medicine and health sciences programmes.

Director of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sports Medicine and Health Sciences Prof. Patrick Yung Shu-hang reaffirmed the programme’s benefits for both the delegates and medical centres, saying: “The information exchange facilitates future collaboration in terms of clinical, education and research activities between both parties, which fosters a stronger cooperation and friendship among the fraternity of Asian football medicine.”

The three participants visited various science research laboratories and attended a Hong Kong Premier League match between South China AA and R&F FC.

Delegate from Thailand, Police Major Dr Tangmanasakul, summarised his experience, saying: “It has been a fruitful fellowship, from meeting people who love football to visiting the many facilities available here in Hong Kong.

“My main takeaway would be learning about the best practices, system and management set in place in some of the medical centres, with the hopes of applying them back in Thailand.”

Travelling fellow from China PR, Assistant Professor Lua Anmin said: “The fellowship programme is definitely valuable in improving Asian football performance, as sports medicine is a key factor in safeguarding the health of the players, and has extended friendships among Asian countries.”

Dr. Hassanmirzaei from IR Iran said: “The infrastructure, solutions and recommendations to develop sports medicine here in Hong Kong are really insightful and something that can be implemented in Iran to push the development of sports medicine.”

Photos: HKFA