Football Medicine Strategies: Return to Play Conference, major value for both seasoned SEM pros and students

Undergraduate perspective on Sports & Exercise Medicine – a BJSM blog

By Sean Carmody (@seancarmody1)

When will they be able to get back playing?”

..That is the question that the medical staff of football clubs attempt to answer most days of their working lives. The question may come from coaches, journalists, agents, supporters, club owners and most importantly, the affected players themselves.

The theme of this year’s Football Medicine Strategies Conference  is centered on identifying the factors determining a footballer’s successful Return to Play following injury. As such, the conference will benefit sports medicine personnel who want to give more accurate responses to the perennial question regarding the readiness of a player to return to competition.


The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London will once again play host to the Conference on the 9th to 11th of April. Last year over 2000 delegates attended from all over the world, representing some of the most famous clubs and influential organisations in football. The Conference is set to grow once again in 2016, maintaining its position as one of the world’s leading sports medicine events.

What can we expect from this year’s conference?

Since its first international event in 1992, Isokinetic have developed a reputation for presenting innovative and cutting-edge research at their annual conferences. Dr Alicia Tomkinson, a Clinical Fellow in Sports Medicine, believes one of the strengths of the Conference is “the opportunity to gain a snapshot of how multidisciplinary management works in elite sport”. This was particularly true of 2015’s event which saw the medical departments of Europe’s top clubs; Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus, Chelsea and Arsenal, describe in detail how they organise their sports medicine provision. Ted Caplan, a fourth year medical student at Bristol University singled that stream out for praise; “It was extremely inspiring to hear and learn from some of the world leaders in sport and exercise medicine”. Another particular highlight from last year’s conference was the constructive debate that took place between clinicians and researchers on the use of PRP during the rehabilitation process.

Isokinetic’s commitment to innovation and pushing the boundaries is set to continue this year with the programme featuring topics such as the role of regenerative medicine in RTP and psychological considerations in RTP. The Science of Football Summit on the third day of the conference will focus on athletic development in youth footballers, an important, but often overlooked population. Once more, there are world class speakers scheduled for each day of the conference.

What will students gain from attending?

Students can often feel intimidated by conference programmes, deeming that they lack the requisite knowledge to participate fully in the occasion. This certainly isn’t the case with FMSC, where 27% of the delegates in 2015 were students.

One of the key factors that attracts undergraduates to the Conference is the ability to meet potential mentors, as Liam Newton, a recent graduate in physiotherapy reflected; “The most valuable aspect of the conference was to network with the biggest and best names in sports medicine. Everyone was extremely approachable and encouraging of students”. Dr Liam West, who founded the Undergraduate Sport and Exercise Medicine Society (USEMS), agreed with that sentiment,  and emphasised how a chance meeting at the Football Medicine Strategies Confrence “may help students take their first step into working within football medicine either on a medical elective or more permanent basis”. Additionally, Dr West cites the unique learning opportunities, stating “the educational programme is unrivalled in terms of expertise and breadth of topics”.

Student Discount

After the impressive undergraduate turnout at last year’s conference, USEMS have again teamed up with Isokinetic to provide a significant discount to students looking to attend. The discount includes both days (Saturday and Sunday) plus FREE Monday SUMMIT for £150 (instead of the full price of £390). To register at this discounted price email Alexia Sotiropoulou – referencing ‘USEMS’.

To learn more about the conference and to register:

See you in London!


Dr. Sean Carmody is a junior doctor working in the South Thames deanery. He has built on his passion for SEM and is now one of the key players in the Undergraduate movement in SEM alongside the advocating of physical activity education for students.

Dr. Liam West  (@Liam_West) coordinates the “Undergraduate Perspective on Sports & Exercise Medicine” Blog Series.

If you would like to contribute to the “Undergraduate Perspective on Sports & Exercise Medicine” Blog Series please email LIAMWESTSEM@HOTMAIL.CO.UK for further information.

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