Every game of sports requires stamina that could enable a player play well in extreme playing conditions, and soccer is no exception where many players have recently accepted taking caffeine pills ahead of their crucial matches. Now, another shocking revelation has been made by none other than FIFA medical chief: Michel D'Hooghe, who said that Anti-inflammatory medicines (which reduce the pain when body tires up) are a bigger threat for players than doping. He said on Monday that increasing trend among players, especially young ones, is ruining their career coz they don’t realize how badly anti-inflammatory medicines can affect their body. At the moment, any player taking a banned substance, steroid or otherwise, can be detected by a dope test, but anti-inflammatory medicine test is nowhere in FIFA list of banned substance hence it emerges as a bigger threat than ever in recent times. The first time when anti-inflammatory medicines abuse exposed was during 2010 South Africa world cup where FIFA came to know how widely these non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines are being used by players around the world. Later, under-17 world cup in Maxico further revealed rising trend of taking these medicines among young players than experienced ones.
According to D'Hooghe, a team had 21 players using them out of 23 before 2010 world cup, which itself tells a lot about its uses. Back in 2006, the average percentage of players taking anti-inflammatory medicines was just 26% which surged to 34.6% in 2010, and as per preliminary estimates, this figure could go beyond 50% by the time Brazil World Cup goes on the floor. D'Hooghe talked about this epidemic in an interview recently where he said, “The most worrying aspect is that we see the problem moving ever more into the youth categories. Doping is not our biggest problem. The anti-inflammatories are our biggest problem. The medicine gives you less pain, but you worsen the situation because pain is a warning. It is an alarm bell. At a certain point, some players start thinking they cannot play without taking the pills.”
He also said next year world’s medical conference in Marrakesh, Morocco will the biggest platform to discuss about this problem where 208 national federations’ top medical officials will impart, and hopefully, they will issue an advisory there which could be the starting guidelines for including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines under FIFA’s list of ban substances.