Cardiff Met's positioning at the cutting edge of the fields of football medicine, sports science practice and research has been garnered by FIFA's accreditation of a purpose-built facility currently under design to support the Football Association of Wales Medical and Performance Centre.
The centre has been formally recognised as one of FIFA's prestigious Medical Centres of Excellence, with its objective being to provide optimum care for the wellbeing of football players across all walks of life.
The formal recognition of the centre is the result of relationships cultivated by Cardiff Metropolitan University with the Football Association of Wales, Cardiff University, FIFA and other National Governing Bodies – many of which now extend over a decade – which enable the centre to demonstrate a high level of clinically-relevant research that has subsequently transferred to applied sports medicine.
The work undertaken by the centre focuses on delivering a holistic approach to facilitating performance and injury analysis across all levels and participant groups of male, female and disability football.
The short and long-term health of footballers is high on the centre's agenda with a focus on facilitating injury prevention and post-injury care, as well as the optimisation of player performance.
The centre has undergone a stringent selection process overseen by world football's governing body to secure accreditation, which will be re-assessed every five years for potential renewal, with the centre also having to report annually on its latest activities.
The recent accreditation is the result of an unwavering commitment at Cardiff Met and at the centre itself to implementing four key objectives, namely:
• To foster collaborative relationships with individuals, institutions and organisations to improve player health and support the mission of FIFA
• To provide state of the art clinical management of football medicine issues, including surgical and non-surgical expertise in musculoskeletal medicine for both recreational and professional players of all ages and genders
• To collaborate with and implement on-going and novel research and development within the framework and long-term strategy of FIFA
• To educate and train the next generation of clinical specialists and scientists committed to football medicine
Sean Connelly, FAW Medical Services Manager & Lead Physiotherapist, in collaboration with Professor Len Nokes, Cardiff School of Engineering at Cardiff University and Professor Gareth Irwin, Head of Biomechanics and Dr Huw Wiltshire, Associate Dean: Partnerships, Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences at Cardiff Metropolitan University will look to deliver FIFA's vision and aims.
Professor Irwin said: "Cardiff Met and our partners, are leading the way in Wales and the UK in football medicine and sports science practice and research.
"This is an exciting time for the development of meaningful, world leading medical science and practice in Wales, as we move forward with our partners at Cardiff University and the FAW."
With the centre also committed to delivering educational and teaching facilities for its attendees, there is a focus on opportunities for male and female players to join degree courses through Cardiff Met to deliver the next generation of elite sport scientists. This contributes to the University's efforts to enhance its reputation as a world-leading institute at the cutting edge of sport science research for years to come.