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Kuala Lumpur: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League Injury and Illness Surveillance Programme was launched in the Malaysian capital city on Wednesday.

A total of 22 team doctors attended the one-day workshop organised by the AFC Sport Medicine Department and Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Qatar, which looked into how to systematically record injuries and illnesses in their clubs. The subsequent study, planned to run over two seasons, will ultimately allow teams to better understand the characteristics of injuries and illnesses in Asian elite players and how to prevent them. 

AFC Medical Committee Chairman Dato' Dr. Gurcharan Singh (pictured below, middle), in his opening speech remarks, said: "The field of sports medicine has taken greater prominence today, more so than ever. In many ways, this shift in focus can be attributed to the global competitive nature of football.

"The demands on players to perform at their best further emphasise the need for the medical community. The prevention of injuries and illnesses relies on developing a sound risk management plan for each athlete and team."

Adopting best practices from the UEFA Champions League, the AFC, in partnership with Aspetar, plan to investigate injuries and illnesses involving the continent's top clubs in the scientific study over the next two seasons. 

The objective is to obtain detailed information on injury frequency, severity, occasions and patterns. Ultimately, this will allow for tailored prevention measures to protect players' health and form, which is in line with the AFC's Vision and Mission to ensure the success of Asia's players and teams on the world's biggest stages. 

Aspetar Director General Dr Mohammed Ghaith Al Kuwari said: "It is time that Asian players and teams benefit from the same scientific rigour and insight as their counterparts in Europe. 

"Aspetar is proud to contribute to the landmark study that might change the way we prevent injuries in Asian football."

The workshop elaborated on the importance of injury prevention by introducing surveillance tools. The medical staff learned how to systematically use these tools in their daily routine during an intense break-out session.

Bangkok United's Dr. Andy Shcillinger, who participated in the workshop, said: "I really liked the workshop and the study project. It will help improve football in Asia and the work of the medical teams. It's always great to meet people who share the same passion for the players' health."

Jiangsu FC' Dr. Pan Quinghua said: "Today, I am very happy to be with so many other doctors at the AFC meeting. The study will help our players in the long run."

Photos: AFC