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Behind the medical scene – Scotland v Belgium

Perspective from Dr Jonny Gordon

Over a year ago we introduced the concept of the PREP plan, that you can see here, to the UEFA Football Doctor Education Programme and successfully integrated it into the course we ran in Rome last December.

The issues with how we deal with pressure and how our decision making is affected when we are stressed drove us to thinking about how we can better train as a team to allow us to be best prepared on the day that an emergency occurs. 

The Pitchside Response Emergency Plan (PREP) takes the simplest of elements – role allocation, contact numbers and most importantly people’s names and allows the document to be populated relevant to the situation you are in.

The biggest issue we face when we are travelling with the National Team is that despite our medical team training together, there will always be other faces, other names and other skill sets of the medical teams allocated to help us.

Communication can be a massive issue for us at this time. Using the PREP in association with the stadium medical teams prior to the match taking place allows us to minimise risks created by poor communication as well as the ‘risks of assumption’ which are greater the bigger the teams of personnel involved. 

The simple fact of knowing the names of the stadium medical team members and including them in the PREP prior to kick off so they know what we expect of them and what they in turn expect of us, is a win-win. 

A team that trains together will win together and this is true in medicine as well. At our last match against Belgium earlier this year I had the pleasure of working with the stadium medical team at the King Baudouin Stadium. A highly talented bunch of clinicians with great knowledge, expertise and equipment available to them, and therefore to us too.

At the training session the night before the match we were able to go through the PREP and discuss expectations and outcomes in the event of an incident on match day. On match day the PREP was populated with everyone’s names, printed off and given to all members of the medical team, (Scotland and the stadium team too).

This was not something they had encountered before but they were delighted with the difference it made.  Not only does the PREP process help to reassure us all about how we would deal with any critical issues it develops a team spirit in an incredibly short time and I believe it will help us improve outcomes.

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