Doping in Soccer/Football

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Right, away from the bickering.

This article from the BBC has some interesting information.

Some key, interesting, statements:
- medical provisions for footballers in the Premiership have improved dramatically as a result of the changes brought about by Petr Čech's skull fracture six years ago.
- the Premier League's Chief Executive has announced that there will be a review of medical procedures (with linked video) in the wake of the event. Which is a large part of what I was saying should happen as a result (and being told that I was ignorant or disingenuous for stating, but that's by the by).
- Fabrice Muamba had been given medical screening on four occasions, though the timeframe for those screenings was not noted.
- According to Kenny Dalglish, players are screened once every two years.
- According to Roberto Mancini, players are screened far more often, and he recommends twice a year as being a better timescale. Mancini also stated, "What happened to Muamba can happen and that should be impossible." However, as we and PFA chief Graham Taylor know, "The truth is even if you screened someone every three months, there may be some things that wouldn't get picked up."

Nevertheless, it's good to know that
a) screening is in place, and
b) the sport and authorities are keen to look into their procedures to see if they can be improved in order to minimise the risk of things like this happening again. Obviously it is impossible to prevent SCA outright, but any reduction in frequency is a good one.
 
Oct 30, 2010
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Libertine Seguros said:
Right, away from the bickering.

This article from the BBC has some interesting information.

Some key, interesting, statements:
- medical provisions for footballers in the Premiership have improved dramatically as a result of the changes brought about by Petr Čech's skull fracture six years ago.
- the Premier League's Chief Executive has announced that there will be a review of medical procedures (with linked video) in the wake of the event. Which is a large part of what I was saying should happen as a result (and being told that I was ignorant or disingenuous for stating, but that's by the by).
- Fabrice Muamba had been given medical screening on four occasions, though the timeframe for those screenings was not noted.
- According to Kenny Dalglish, players are screened once every two years.
- According to Roberto Mancini, players are screened far more often, and he recommends twice a year as being a better timescale. Mancini also stated, "What happened to Muamba can happen and that should be impossible." However, as we and PFA chief Graham Taylor know, "The truth is even if you screened someone every three months, there may be some things that wouldn't get picked up."

Nevertheless, it's good to know that
a) screening is in place, and
b) the sport and authorities are keen to look into their procedures to see if they can be improved in order to minimise the risk of things like this happening again. Obviously it is impossible to prevent SCA outright, but any reduction in frequency is a good one.
Libertine - you'll like this one...

Back in the day I went for an interview at Middlesborough FC when Bryan Robson was manager. So I'm sitting there having this interview and I asked what were the screening processes for their players, youth team onwards. They stared back at me. "Like what?" was the response - to which I replied, oh your know ECG, Echo, blood tests, bone scans etc. Blank faces. Right. Okay.

So I'm taken round their gleeming new training facility, and they've got every bit of kit you can imagine. They had a top of the range isokinetic dynamometer - 'what do you do with that?' asks I... 'Nothing, we don't know how to work it' came the reply. The gym was incredible - every machine under the sun. But no dumbells because, and I quote, "footballers are thick and they'll drop them on their own feet". And that was from one of the med team. Mad.

I went to CONI in Rome couple of years ago. Totally different story. Some very strong sports scientists working there. The Premiership football teams have improved (undoubtedly) over the years - but the fact they do not clinical test every new signing to stringent levels is an indication of the culture in football. I think, anyway. Nobody wants to fail the £30m new signing on medical grounds.
 
Markyboyzx6r said:
Libertine - you'll like this one...

Back in the day I went for an interview at Middlesborough FC when Bryan Robson was manager. So I'm sitting there having this interview and I asked what were the screening processes for their players, youth team onwards. They stared back at me. "Like what?" was the response - to which I replied, oh your know ECG, Echo, blood tests, bone scans etc. Blank faces. Right. Okay.

So I'm taken round their gleeming new training facility, and they've got every bit of kit you can imagine. They had a top of the range isokinetic dynamometer - 'what do you do with that?' asks I... 'Nothing, we don't know how to work it' came the reply. The gym was incredible - every machine under the sun. But no dumbells because, and I quote, "footballers are thick and they'll drop them on their own feet". And that was from one of the med team. Mad.

I went to CONI in Rome couple of years ago. Totally different story. Some very strong sports scientists working there. The Premiership football teams have improved (undoubtedly) over the years - but the fact they do not clinical test every new signing to stringent levels is an indication of the culture in football. I think, anyway. Nobody wants to fail the £30m new signing on medical grounds.
Mancini was alluding to that; Italy is much, much better in that respect, and the screening is a lot better. Then again, there are a few reasons for that, the main one, as mentioned in the BBC article, was that in Italy, this medical coverage for the players is paid for by the government, whereas in Britain it falls to the PFA. Naturally, as you say, times have changed somewhat since the days of Robson managing Middlesbrough, but those responses are somewhat scary to say the least.

There is obviously enough money in football to maintain the status quo, warts and all, and as you say, financial concerns and pressures sometimes get in the way of common sense. Petr Cech's terrible injury was a bit of a wakeup call for them on medical provisions for matches. Hopefully Muamba's can be a wakeup call for medical screening. It could be that medical screening was absolutely top drawer and it was just something that was unavoidably missed, but if Dalglish is to be believed... a lot can change in the body in two years, especially two years of playing twice a week and training on top of that.
 
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Absolutely Libertine, yeah.

Even if (as I explained in my previous posts) a cardiac condition is missed, a player may never have those unique circumstances which contrive to put them into a VF arrest. We try to simulate those conditions in the lab (via electrical stimuation) and even then we don't always get a 'result'. Pure bad luck. That siad, Longitudinal studies are one of the most effective means of diagnosing cardiac issues. If a player has tests every year then comparing the current results with previous is a very powerful diagnostic tool. Manchini is working to the Italian model, which I think is more effective and should be adopte in the UK.

The other thing about it is access to the AICD (the defib machine). Time to defib is a major survival factor - the longer it takes, the lesser the chances of a good outcome. I have to tip my hat to the clubs' medical team on Saturday. They did an outstanding job. Resus is horrible in hospital, I can't imagine how it must have been to have been in that situation with 40,000 people watching. But they did a great job.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
Mambo just saw that this thread was in the Clinic, and went on his usual crusade, only skim-reading the posts enough to know what he could mischaracterise.

It seems that for many of the contributors to discussion here, discussion is no longer about Fabrice Muamba individually, but about the matter of SCA and other related problems in athletes, how it comes about and whether it can be reduced. But to Mambo95, people like Hitch, hrotha and I are those "pull-the-tube people", who are saying, even after we've been given at least two highly likely, natural causes for what happened, "NO! DOPER! DOPER!", despite the simple fact that none of us actually said there was any connection between doping and what happened to Fabrice Muamba.

It's a good racket, I have to say. Attack us as ghouls for something we didn't say, and if we then defend ourselves it's disrespectful as not letting it lie, and if we explain ourselves more contritely and are careful not to say anything that can be misconstrued, then we're acting holier-than-thou and feigning concern.

As such, the thread has become less about discussion of what people like myself, Hitch and hrotha have said, and more about discussion of what Mambo95 wants people to believe we've said.
Well said.

Funny thing is i predicted he would behave that way 10 pages ago.
The Hitch said:
Mambo95 knows this but if he admits it he has nothing to fight against.

he will as always try to paint the discussion as something it isn't so that he can go back to his anti clinic clique elsewhere on the internet and say "look what the asylum is doing now".

How can he be the caped crusder against the evil ignorant clinic if they are discussing the the science behind heart problems ?

It is therefore important for him to pretend that this discussion consists only of posters attacking the victim as a doper.
 
Jul 25, 2009
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Markyboyzx6r said:
'...'Oh, and given that you want to debate the subject... tell me please, how would you come to a differential diagnosis of HOCM via PED use, over and above other suspected pathologies? Come on, tell me how you are going to view any clinical data to pinpoint PED involvement? '...'
I expect making a differential diagnosis of HOCM via PED use would be next to impossible in an individual case. Probably as clinically challenging as ruling out PED use as a contributing factor in an individual case.

Markyboyzx6r said:
Link Muamba to PED use via a differential diagnosis and you'll deserve a pint or at least nice biscuit. Tell me how you're going to do it. If you can't, then you're just a pair of nobodys talking about a very ill patient who has a problem you know nothing about.'...'
We are not trying to talk about a very ill patient we know nothing about. We are trying to have a conversation about whether the incidence of SCD in soccer players is higher than it needs to be. If so, what are the possible causes and what might be done about it?

However, it is very difficult to discuss the subject given the clamoring of people who insist on accusing others of making connections that cannot be made. If you reread the posts with that in mind, perhaps you will notice how often phrases such as "might be a contributing factor in some cases" crop up.

Alternatively, you might consider contributing to the discussion. What interest me is the proportion of pro soccer players who receive screening for SCD risk factors. Some of the reported comments imply it might be a significant proportion, but I haven't been able to find any data.

Edit: Just gone back through the thread and seen Libertines post, so we know there has been full screening for at least 5 years... it's the early 2000s that are interesting.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Libertine Seguros said:
Mancini was alluding to that; Italy is much, much better in that respect, and the screening is a lot better. Then again, there are a few reasons for that, the main one, as mentioned in the BBC article, was that in Italy, this medical coverage for the players is paid for by the government, whereas in Britain it falls to the PFA. Naturally, as you say, times have changed somewhat since the days of Robson managing Middlesbrough, but those responses are somewhat scary to say the least.

There is obviously enough money in football to maintain the status quo, warts and all, and as you say, financial concerns and pressures sometimes get in the way of common sense. Petr Cech's terrible injury was a bit of a wakeup call for them on medical provisions for matches. Hopefully Muamba's can be a wakeup call for medical screening. It could be that medical screening was absolutely top drawer and it was just something that was unavoidably missed, but if Dalglish is to be believed... a lot can change in the body in two years, especially two years of playing twice a week and training on top of that.
Markyboyzx6r said:
Libertine - you'll like this one...

Back in the day I went for an interview at Middlesborough FC when Bryan Robson was manager. So I'm sitting there having this interview and I asked what were the screening processes for their players, youth team onwards. They stared back at me. "Like what?" was the response - to which I replied, oh your know ECG, Echo, blood tests, bone scans etc. Blank faces. Right. Okay.

So I'm taken round their gleeming new training facility, and they've got every bit of kit you can imagine. They had a top of the range isokinetic dynamometer - 'what do you do with that?' asks I... 'Nothing, we don't know how to work it' came the reply. The gym was incredible - every machine under the sun. But no dumbells because, and I quote, "footballers are thick and they'll drop them on their own feet". And that was from one of the med team. Mad.

I went to CONI in Rome couple of years ago. Totally different story. Some very strong sports scientists working there. The Premiership football teams have improved (undoubtedly) over the years - but the fact they do not clinical test every new signing to stringent levels is an indication of the culture in football. I think, anyway. Nobody wants to fail the £30m new signing on medical grounds.

LS and Mark, in Australian Rules, we have had a couple of legs just snapping in the last years, like Djibrel Cisse. Is there any anecdotal evidence about androgens, corticos and hypertrophy stuff, leading to bone degeneration? osteoporosis?

And Race Radio made a pertinent post about the androgens making strength increases that cause the body to break down. The Australian Rules have had a plethora and increase of soft tissue, white tissue strains ruptures tears etc. They are now olympic calibre athletes doing hand-eye and fine neuromuscular coordination movements, but with vastly superior athletic ability to what they did two decades ago. And it aint sports science (w/o the medicine!) and nutrition and dietetics and discipline and training, just aint
 
Oct 30, 2010
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Blackcat to be honest with you mate I wouldn't have the first idea about bone density trends, not my area I'm afraid.

Also, in answer to another posted question, is there increasing incidence of SCD in football players? I'm asking the question as I've no idea. Certainly I wouldn't have thought it is anything like the early days of EPO in endurance sports, perhaps someone can shed light on this?

Side note - it's great to see Muamba making good progress in hospital. Fingers crossed still.
 
Markyboyzx6r said:
Blackcat to be honest with you mate I wouldn't have the first idea about bone density trends, not my area I'm afraid.

Also, in answer to another posted question, is there increasing incidence of SCD in football players? I'm asking the question as I've no idea. Certainly I wouldn't have thought it is anything like the early days of EPO in endurance sports, perhaps someone can shed light on this?

Side note - it's great to see Muamba making good progress in hospital. Fingers crossed still.
It certainly feels like there is increasing incidence, but that could also be partly illusory thanks to the information age and improved reportage, and also the increased internationalisation of sport, where each country has access to watch all of the other major leagues, rather than just their own with a magazine show of the others.
 
Well, the Athletic Club "duracell bunnies" are looking pretty laboured out there again... their European form may be spectacular, but in the league they're looking pretty off-colour... if they lose tonight, which they look like doing (2-0 down with 13 to go as I speak), that's three consecutive defeats, putting them down to 9th, 4 points off that important 4th place.
 
Well, they've been playing as if half-asleep in league games in this last few weeks, and their form has suffered badly for it... they were also fairly leaden for large parts of the first half, not quite as all-action as they were against Manchester United, but then Schalke didn't let them settle like Manchester United did. I think they're more or less starting to sacrifice league form for this, now that 4th in the league and the Champions' League is looking less likely. Against Osasuna they looked like they were still half asleep, they got tonked by Valencia at home, and conceded a late goal to Sporting Clube de Gijón after dominating most of the game, because Gijón outlasted them (!).

For what it's worth, Athletic tweeted after the game that the players selected for anti-doping controls at the end of the game were Íñigo Pérez from Athletic's side, and Raúl González from Schalke's.
 
Oct 30, 2011
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Libertine Seguros said:
Well, they've been playing as if half-asleep in league games in this last few weeks, and their form has suffered badly for it... they were also fairly leaden for large parts of the first half, not quite as all-action as they were against Manchester United, but then Schalke didn't let them settle like Manchester United did. I think they're more or less starting to sacrifice league form for this, now that 4th in the league and the Champions' League is looking less likely. Against Osasuna they looked like they were still half asleep, they got tonked by Valencia at home, and conceded a late goal to Sporting Clube de Gijón after dominating most of the game, because Gijón outlasted them (!).

For what it's worth, Athletic tweeted after the game that the players selected for anti-doping controls at the end of the game were Íñigo Pérez from Athletic's side, and Raúl González from Schalke's.
What a laughably low number.
 
Oct 16, 2010
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Libertine Seguros said:
Well, they've been playing as if half-asleep in league games in this last few weeks, and their form has suffered badly for it... they were also fairly leaden for large parts of the first half, not quite as all-action as they were against Manchester United, but then Schalke didn't let them settle like Manchester United did. I think they're more or less starting to sacrifice league form for this, now that 4th in the league and the Champions' League is looking less likely. Against Osasuna they looked like they were still half asleep, they got tonked by Valencia at home, and conceded a late goal to Sporting Clube de Gijón after dominating most of the game, because Gijón outlasted them (!).
whom are you apologizing for?
the spanish liga is fully dominating the european competitions.
probably more talent, skills and training facilities than elsewhere in europe.
:rolleyes:
 
sniper said:
whom are you apologizing for?
the spanish liga is fully dominating the european competitions.
probably more talent, skills and training facilities than elsewhere in europe.
:rolleyes:
This has been pointed out before, but the Spanish Liga isn't dominating. One year doesn't make a statistics, and it's been English clubs doing better overall for the last 5 years or so. Barça was obviously the strongest team, but at the same time Real was nowhere.
 
sniper said:
whom are you apologizing for?
the spanish liga is fully dominating the european competitions.
probably more talent, skills and training facilities than elsewhere in europe.
:rolleyes:
And for the last 5 years English clubs have been dominating. We had consecutive years where all 4 top English clubs made the last 8 of the CL. Often by outlasting opponents who were now know were doped up.

There is a good chance that some doping has been going on at Athletic Bilbao. But singling them and their compatriots out (especially given we had people earlier in the thread saying their stamina made it clear they were doping, because they outlasted Manchester United who 'work harder' which explains their huge number of games won in the last few minutes) reeks of the usual "dogpile on the Iberians" attitude in here. The reason for the shift in the balance of power in Europe, for my money, is more to do with the generation of players that made the Premier League the strongest league in Europe growing older and not being satisfactorily replaced. I'm not convinced that the doping in Spanish football is any worse than it was pre-Puerto, when the Premier League was dominating European football.
 
Oct 30, 2011
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Libertine Seguros said:
And for the last 5 years English clubs have been dominating. We had consecutive years where all 4 top English clubs made the last 8 of the CL. Often by outlasting opponents who were now know were doped up.

There is a good chance that some doping has been going on at Athletic Bilbao. But singling them and their compatriots out (especially given we had people earlier in the thread saying their stamina made it clear they were doping, because they outlasted Manchester United who 'work harder' which explains their huge number of games won in the last few minutes) reeks of the usual "dogpile on the Iberians" attitude in here. The reason for the shift in the balance of power in Europe, for my money, is more to do with the generation of players that made the Premier League the strongest league in Europe growing older and not being satisfactorily replaced. I'm not convinced that the doping in Spanish football is any worse than it was pre-Puerto, when the Premier League was dominating European football.
Another factor in the Premier League's dominance for the last 8 years or so has been the presence of a solid top 4 (now gone). With 4 teams confident of securing the champions league revenue, they were able to build squads of an ideal size for the CL. With Italy in turmoil, Spain's duopoly stranglnig the rest of the league and Germany's league perennially open to all challengers, the English were to best placed to field a multitude of teams in the latter stages of the competition.

With that top 4 eroding, it falls to Spain to dominate while England starts to re-organise, and Italy continues to recover from the fallout of Calciopoli
 
Oct 16, 2010
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http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/blogs/early-doors/hail-reign-spain-080221680.html

the dominant culture pervading football is that of Spain: for the first time in the history of European football, one country provides five of the eight clubs contesting the semi-finals of the continent's two cup competitions.
not to mention the national team being european and world champion. makes the record even more unique.
but probably nothing to see here folks.
more talent. better training facilities. more training hours. better match-mentality.

'Dominamos el continente'.
One would expect such one-nation-dominance in quirky sports such as long-distance ice-skating, but definitely not in football.

Barcelona and Spain's brand of football over the past five or so years has resulted in a fetishisation of passing statistics, perhaps to the point of no return.
the past five years or so, ay?
Didn't Barca start shopping at Fuentes' place in around 2005?
Probably a coincidence.

question remains: what are the spanish having that others aren't? EPO? HGH? The combination? Or does the secret lie in the quantity rather than quality of doping?
 
sniper said:
but probably nothing to see here folks.
more talent. better training facilities. more training hours. better match-mentality.
No one's saying that. We're saying it's too soon to call it a trend, because prior to this season it wasn't Spanish football as a whole, it was Barça, which also forms the backbone of the national team.

And Barça tried to hire Fuentes way before 2005. Not sure how Puerto evidence supports your theory of sudden dominance in football though.
 
Oct 16, 2010
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hrotha said:
No one's saying that. We're saying it's too soon to call it a trend, because prior to this season it wasn't Spanish football as a whole, it was Barça, which also forms the backbone of the national team.

And Barça tried to hire Fuentes way before 2005. Not sure how Puerto evidence supports your theory of sudden dominance in football though.
It wasn't only barca, also the national team of course. and barca's dominance is not just dominance. it's outrageous dominance. extraordinary capacity to play football as dynamic as we haven't seen it before, and dependent completely on their physical fitness. Clearly we're dealing not with sauce, but with special sauce.

as for puerto, i'm just trying to speculate about what juice or particular program spanish teams are on, something that could account for the spanish dominance.
it's clear that doping in football is widespread and not just a spanish phenomenon, but it's also clear that the current dominance of spanish teams cannot be explained by better trainingfacilities alone.
 
Oct 16, 2010
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what people also forget is that the english dominance a few years back was a clearly financial phenomenon: the premier league was richer than all other european leagues. This also explains why the English national team never followed up on the club results.
The current spanish dominance is not restricted to the clubs and all in all much less clearly related to money (Real Madrid perhaps being an exception).
 

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