What happens during a football medical visit? How to Pass and Why Players Fail Them

Physical exams are an integral part of modern football, especially when it comes to transfers, but how do they happen?

Footballers at the highest level are finely tuned athletes who may consider themselves one of the most physically imposing specimens on the planet, but even they have to prove that fitness from time to time. It might make a good impression on a demanding coach or recovering from injury, but the most painful tests tend to come when moving from one club to another.

Medical are now part of the fabric of football, as they have the potential to make or break big deals, but what happens during these reviews and how are certain boxes ticked? OBJECTIVE have a look…

What happens during a football medical visit?

There are many hurdles to clear before a transfer can be completed, financial details being arguably the most important of these as some tantalizing numbers change hands.

However, any player looking to move will need to prove to potential new employers that they are ready to go and are unlikely to have an unhappy time in any given treatment room.

There’s no exact science here, with the possibility of injury at any time, but medical personnel tasked with taking a look at new faces can help eliminate an element of risk by determining the hardiness of anyone placed in front of them.

The areas covered by a medical examination are:

Heart screening is an important part of any medical examination, alongside a heart health history questionnaire. Blood and general fitness checks are also common, while urine samples can detect problems such as diabetes.

Physio teams look for possible weak spots in the skeletal structure, in areas like the back and pelvis, as this can lead to hamstring and adductor problems. Muscle movements will also be assessed during squats and lunges.

Medical teams can also determine how muscle groups work together and identify potential weaknesses that could hint at a previous injury that has not fully recovered. Knee flexion and extension exercises help here.

Anyone with a history of injuries will be sent for an ultrasound. These help assess the majority of muscles and joints.

Bioelectrical Impedance Technology is a body fat monitor that sends electrical signals through the body to measure lean tissue and fat. Most professional footballers should have around 10% body fat.

Sprint tests measure a player’s speed over a certain distance. These results will be of particular interest to managers looking for additions in specialized areas of the domain.

Medical examinations may also include visual, hearing and dental tests depending on the depth of the examination and any issues raised there.

How is a medical exam passed or failed?

Medical examinations take place as teams look to ensure they are getting what they pay for and that there are no damaged goods.

Dave Fevre – who has worked with Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers and Great Britain Rugby League – said FourFourTwo of the process: “I liken it to when you go out and buy a used car – you can risk it being fine based on what you see, or if you’re wise you’ll invest after it’s been inspected experts like the AA.

“When you look at the amount of money paid for players, it’s really in the interest of the club to make sure to the best of your ability that what you get is in good working order.”

On a similar theme, Burnley club doctor Simon Morris told the Premier League: “If you have enough money to buy an expensive sports car you would want to look under the bonnet, right? not ?”

While the merits of performing a medical examination are obvious, how does one pass or fail such a test?

There are no definitive answers as each club will work under slightly different regulations and draw their own conclusions accordingly.

Dr Charlotte Cowie, who spent time with Tottenham and Fulham, said BBC Sports on decision-making: “My ideal medical exam would probably last about four hours.

“One man’s failure is another man’s success. It really depends on the player’s injury situation, what the manager and the club expect from that player and what it’s going to cost. It’s a risk-benefit analysis.

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