Why medical exams are important

The process of the medical only really comes under scrutiny, however, when a player fails the assessment.

Many South Africans were shocked to hear Ajax Cape Town defender Rivaldo Coetzee failed his medical at Scottish club Glasgow Celtic, but it shows just how important this part of the transfer is, especially in Europe.

READ: Paulse advises Riva after failed move

KickOff.com recently spoke to sports scientist (Biokineticist) and football coach Ahmed Parker, who previously worked with Cape Town All Stars, UCT Ladies Football and Banyana Banyana, to get the lowdown on medical exam procedures.

“As with any job in pretty much any industry, before employing someone to a position, the employer is legally obliged to do some form of evaluation on the prospective employee to ensure that they are medically, physically and psychologically fit to do the job that they are being employed for," says Parker, who specialises in strength and conditioning.

“Football is no different. Prior to signing the employment contract between the club and the player, a similar evaluation is required and it is for the protection of both the club and the player. For football, it would be important to assess the player's risk profile, injury history and then make a judgement on the player's fitness to perform their duty of playing football.”

Parker also mentions that the extent of an evaluation is relative.

“At amateur or semi-professional level it may take the form of a screening questionnaire and a basic evaluation by the medical practitioner whereby they will physically examine the player, evaluate their medical and injury history and do a few other tests as they may deem necessary," he says. 

"At the top professional level where contracts can reach into millions of Rands, clubs may choose a more comprehensive assessment in anticipation of signing this new player. These may include in an depth assessment of medical history [whereby they bring records from other doctors], a more thorough physical examination, X-Rays or MRI scans.

“If the club's medical practitioners are not satisfied with the outcome of their assessment, players may be sent for further evaluation by external specialist practitioners and in the worst case scenario the deal may fall through on the basis of the medical.”

Article by: Thaaqib 'Benni' Daniels