The first EuroLeague Team Doctors Meeting could not have been more timely as preparations for a healthy 2020-21 season dominated an agenda that attracted medical professionals from all Turkish Airlines EuroLeague clubs to an in-depth group discussion on Friday.
The meeting, held by video-conference, was part of the 2020-21 EB Institute Annual Workshops, which for a decade have brought together professionals from EuroLeague and EuroCup clubs to exchange information in their specialties and plan collectively for the future.
"The entire priority, goal and philosophy is that the league and the clubs help and support each other, sharing best practices, for the benefit of EuroLeague Team Doctors individually; for the medical staff in our clubs; and ultimately for our clubs as a whole, so that we can help stay healthy and best recover players as well as other club staff in the best way possible," Eduard J. Scott, Euroleague Basketball Chief Operations Officer, said.
The meeting was led by Dr. Ignacio Muro, Euroleague Basketball Medical Officer, who emphasized the crucial importance, after a season that couldn't be completed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, of cooperation between all clubs. "We need to have this network of communication so that the team doctors can talk to each other to know exactly what the situation is in the different cities before traveling next season" Dr. Muro said. "We all need as much information as we can have, as soon as possible." Also of fundamental significance, Dr. Muro affirmed, is the need for team doctors to anticipate providing more medical services than ever to players who were forced to lessen or even stop their athletic activity for the first time in their careers.
Following self-introductions by all the team doctors, there was a guest presentation by Dr. Florian Kainzinger of Think.Health in Germany in which he spoke about the details of the planning and execution of the virus-free "bubble" in which that country's domestic league was able to recently complete a three-week end-of-season tournament in Munich without any COVID-19 positives.
In the context of preventing, diagnosing and treating injuries to which idled players might become more susceptible, Dr. Guy Morag of Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv spoke to the group about advanced knee cartilage surgery. His discussion covered the gamut from lavage to microfracture surgery to transplants and grafts, among other procedures, noting both the key diagnostic questions and the success rates of each.
Dr. Mindaugas Gudelis of FC Barcelona talked about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of muscle injuries, which are among the most common in professional basketball. Dr. Gudelis broke down the muscle injuries by location, with calves and quadriceps leading the way, and analyzed how different types of injuries even in the same location require distinct treatments, recovery times and subsequent workload modification when a player is able to return to action in three stages: working alone, working with the team and returning to live game performance.
Dr. Ugur Dilicikik of Anadolu Efes Istanbul outlined the day-to-day work of his club medical staff with the team on issues of player health and performance. Dr. Dilicikik cited the critical importance of studying each player as an individual, from both a medical and athletic standpoint, in order to tailor the proper preparation and recovery techniques to his particular medical history and role on the team.
The EB Insitute Annual Workshops continued on Monday with the EuroLeague Head Coaches convening for discussions with Euroleague Basketball executives, to be followed on Tuesday by another session with the Euroleague Basketball officiating department. The EuroCup Head Coaches will meet with the Euroleague Basketball officiating department on Wednesday.