x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Sports injuries receive inadequate treatment in UAE, experts claim

Experts say more attention needs to be given to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sports-related injuries.

DUBAI // Injured athletes often do not receive appropriate treatment in the UAE, experts claim.

Dr Abdulhameed Al Attar, the chairman of sports medicine at the National Olympic Committee, said this applied even to common injuries such as injured tendons.

Dr Al Attar was attending a sports medicine conference this week organised by the National Olympic Committee and TechnoGym.

It was part of a series of efforts by the committee to train medical staff on the latest ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating sports injuries.

"What we are aiming to do is update the medical personnel to use latest evidence-based techniques," said Dr Al Attar. "In the case of tendinopathy [inflammation of or injury to tendons], we will demonstrate recent research on how to differentiate between a tear and an inflammation."

The initial step, when a doctor is choosing between invasive or non-invasive treatment, is critical.

"If a non-invasive treatment is necessary, then the staff must review the biomechanical problem that is associated with that athlete and causing the stress," said Dr Al Attar. "They must also check the load of training, which could also be a triggering factor."

Only 10 per cent of cases require surgery or intensive treatment, said Dr Saeed Al Thani, the vice chairman of sports medicine on the committee. Rehabilitation is sufficient for the other 90 per cent.

The wrong treatment risked making a bad situation worse, said Dr Magdi Abdul Azim, an orthopaedic doctor at Rashid Hospital in Dubai and a sports physician at Al Ahli Sports Club.

"If it's not treated appropriately on the spot, it could turn into a chronic case," he said.

The sports clubs are working together to create a standard protocol for medical staff.

Matteo Europeo, a sports physiotherapist in Dubai, said patients had to be treated as individuals.

"It is important to know when strengthening is more important than rest," he added. "At the moment everyone gets the same treatment, while the injury should be divided into different components."

Dr Al Attar believes UAE sports clubs do not put enough emphasis on prevention rather than cure.

"Prevention starts with a pre-participation evaluation, where different members of medical teams can have their input," he said. "Then you see if there are any predispositions to injuries and correct factors that may contribute to the injury.

"We should not wait until there is a problem to solve it - we must try to prevent it first."