Head of Medical Commission Hans Olaf Baack: "On fire to protect and preserve players' health"

European League of Football works further on medical development.

December 19, 2022
European League of Football Communications
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Head of Medical Commission Hans Olaf Baack: "On fire to protect and preserve players' health"
Patrick Esume (lft.) and Hans Olaf Baack (rt.) at the Sporthopaedic-Hamburg. © European League of Football

Medical progress! The European League of Football is working steadily and continuously on the medical protocols and explanations in the license agreement for the 2023 season.

Responsible and leading for this is the Head of Medical Commission, Hans Olaf Baack, as a surgeon, trauma surgeon, orthopedist, and emergency medical. He is responsible for the coordination between coaches, players and team doctors and is in permanent exchange with the Legal-Advisor and the Commissioner Patrick Esume.

Annual general examinations for the licensing of players, the specification of the Concussion Protocol according to current events as well as the evaluation of helmets or the exclusion of certain modelsare on the agenda here.

"The European League of Football was founded as a players’ league. As a medical professional, I am on fire to protect and preserve players' health," says Hans Olaf Baack, founder of Sporthopaedic-Hamburg. "It is my duty to give the franchises sensible guidelines to ensure sustainable success and not reduce the players to costs & benefits for the franchises."

The league has created a clear guideline in dealing with injuries and illnesses through the stipulations and protocols in the licensing agreement, which franchises must clearly adhere to when they sign the contract.

Examples include the introduction of Head Injury Spotters - two per game on the sidelines, - who look exclusively for head injuries, and the Med Meeting, where medical teams meet before the game to plan and adjust. These measures, which have not been used in European football to date, are intended to exhort the franchises to discipline in the area of health and prevent them from making the wrong decisions.

Hans Olaf Baack is optimistic about continuing the steady improvement of medical matters. "As Head of Medical Commission, I not only follow the games and recordings on the screen, but I am present at games all over Europe to get a picture of the franchises and the stadiums. This has led to a uniform optimization of medical equipment on the sidelines. For the coming season, among other things, a scoop stretcher, a vacuum mattress, a suction pump, various stiff-necks and ambulances will be mandatory for every franchise's stadium."

Hans Olaf Baack has already been active for nine years in the Hamburg Football and Cheerleading Association as anassociation doctor, where he looks after the medical needs of the youth players and the youth selection HAMJAM at the youth national tournament. In addition, he regularly gives lectures at trainer clinics and advanced training courses of the American Football Association of Germany. A constant exchange with other doctors of the AFVD underlines the effort to achieve a sustainable relationship between the European League of Football and the German association also on a medical level.

In addition, an annual English-language sports medicine congress with current topics from sports medicine and trauma surgery for team physicians is organized and held by the Head of Medical Commission during the Championship Game of the European League of Football.

The long-term commitment means that the expanding European League of Football also offers new franchises a solid foundation to the rulebook and builds on the progress that the European League of Football - in collaboration with all 17 teams and the European League of Football Players Committee - has made in improving health and safety over the past two years.

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