Objective: To create a model for the precompetition medical assessment (PCMA) of international elite football players aimed at identifying risk factors and to assess the feasibility of standardized requirements for teams from countries with variable medical standards.
Design: Descriptive feasibility study.
Setting: Medical assessment of professional football players before a major international competition.
Participants: Thirty-two national football teams comprising 736 players participating in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Intervention: A standardized football-specific PCMA was developed, and all team physicians were asked to perform the PCMA before the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Main outcome measures: Response rate, completeness of documentation forms, and quality of data.
Results: Of all 32 teams participating in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the precompetition assessment forms of 26 teams (response rate 81%) were returned. Of the initial target population of 736 players, the data of 582 players (79%) were analyzed. The average completeness of the forms ranged from 34% to 94% among teams and average completeness of the different sections of the forms from 78% to 98%. Quality of data provided varied considerably.
Conclusion: The response rate of 81% demonstrated that a standardized approach is possible, whereas results and quality of data required adaptations of the form and review of the implementation procedure.