Highlights from the FSEM-Ireland webinar series. Part one of a multi-blog series

Catch up on what you missed from the first of the FSEM webinars

The Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine (FSEM) in Ireland have adapted their educational content to bring both national and international experts direct to your screens to discuss the hottest topics in the new SEM world. These hugely popular and far-reaching webinars are hosted and lead by the FSEM Sports & Exercise Specialist Registrars. Check out our website www.fsem.ie for details of past and future events.

Webinar 1: Return to Sport in the Covid-19 Era

25th July 2020

The path to return to sport was of major interest to all of us involved in sport, with competitive sport taking an understandable back seat for much of the lockdown period. We were delighted to have hosted a number of leading clinicians across many Irish sporting organisations as they presented on how the return to their sport was progressing. With many of the presenters also members of the government’s ‘Return to Sport Expert Group’ the webinar provided the audience with a rare opportunity to her directly what was happening behind the scenes to plan and prepare for the return of sport during the pandemic.

  • Dr Alan Byrne (Medical Director of the Football Association of Ireland) spoke on the return to football and the pre-participation screening processes involved. Dr Byrne commented the only certainty in the current pandemic is uncertainty. Dr Byrne stressed the importance of working closely with the players, managers and other stakeholders involved in the process of return to sport.
  • Dr Rod McLoughlin (Medical Director of the Irish Rugby Football Union) discussed how rugby’s High Performance Centres were adapting to this challenging new era. Dr McLoughlin highlighted the work done at provincial level to maintain high performance training in a safe an environment as possible.
  • Dr James O’Donovan (Chief Medical Officer for Team Ireland, Toyoko Olympics 2021) explained how the Irish Olympic athletes have reshaped their preparations with the postponed Olympic games. Dr O’Donovan described the challenges of long distance travel, heat and illness on performance and how Team Ireland are planning to confront these challenges.
  • Brenda O’Donnell representing CARA, a pan-disability sport organisation, spoke on the considerations for higher risk disability sport athletes at this time. Brenda O’Donnell spoke of the Health Service Executive (HSE) advice, that despite those in ‘high-risk’ groups not having a higher risk of contracting Covid-19, these groups may be at higher risk of serious illness if an individual contracts the virus and therefore such groups should consider ‘protective self-separation’. Returning to sport in such groups is evidently arduous, however, CARA are committed to supporting such groups safely along this path.
  • Dr Jennifer Pugh (Senior Medical Officer, Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board) focused on how the horse racing sector was coping with the new environment and where personal protective equipment was playing a major role in risk mitigation.
  • Dr Pat O’Neill (Member of the Covid-19 Gaelic Athletic Association Medical Advisory Group) highlighted the Individual roles involved in the process of return to GAA across the country. Dr O’Neill defined the role of both the player, manager and Covid-19 compliance officer within GAA clubs and explained the difference between close and causal contacts on the GAA pitch and how this concept is challenged by the very nature of the sport.
  • Prof Mary Horgan (Infectious Disease Consultant and President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland) focused on what clinicians should consider when dealing with a patient returning to sport following a Covid-19 illness. Prof Horgan informed us of the stages of disease severity and both the long and short term impact of the virus on both individuals physical and mental health. Prof Horgan described some medical investigation considerations before returning to sport from a complicated covid-19 illness. Additionally, Prof Horgan spoke of the importance for us to learn from other countries and work together on a global level to combat the virus.

The next webinar of our series is scheduled for mid-December and is entitled ‘Hand injuries in sport – what not to missed’ and again will be led by a panel of experts in hand injuries and management, with speakers to be revealed in the coming weeks. Stay tuned, check out www.fsem.ie and follow our social media platforms for updates!

Authors and Affiliations:

FSEM Sports & Exercise Specialist Registrars: Dr Ronan Kearney, Dr Stuart O’Flanagan, Dr Matt Cosgrave and Dr Joe Jordan

Twitter: @FSEM_IRL @KearneyRonan @DrSOF_ @MatthewCosgrave @joe_jordan

With thanks to Annemarie Creighton (FSEM Administrator), Dr Ciaran Cosgrave (FSEM Educational Committee Chair) and Dr Philip Carolan (FSEM Dean) for their help throughout the development and production stages of the webinars as well as Premier Surgical for their sponsor of the event.

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