Objectives Events such as the Beach Soccer World Cup 2015 (BSWC15) generate mass gatherings that pose special public health concerns. On average 1−2% of a crowd attending an event will need or access some type of first aid or medical observation; 10% of these are expected to need ongoing care on-site, and a further 1% hospital or emergency department admission. The BSWC15 was held in Espinho, a coastal city in the north Portugal. The competition occurred during summer time, encompassing 32 matches with a total attendance of 96.300 and an average of 3.009 spectators. The event included 2 venue sites.
The aims of this paper are to inform and assist medical serv ices providers in planning medical care delivery at small sporting tournaments, and present descriptive data about medical assistance during the BSWC15.
Methods The Health and Performance Unit of Portugal’s Football Federation was responsible for setting up medical care services delivery during the BSWC15. The event medical services set-up included a medical centre in the venue providing primary care for spectators and a medical office inside the stadium devoted for non -player staff and other accredited personnel. Protocols were established with designated emergency department to deal with medical emergencies of both audience and the accredited staff. Presentations at event medical services were systematically reported by the two
medical doctors that leaded the medical teams. Injury and illness data were collected using standardised forms, including the person’s origin (Local Office Committee (LOC)/FIFA official, staff member or spectator), presenting symptoms, wound location, treatment option, medicines prescribed and external referrals.
Results Thirty-six medical encounters were reported 25 (69.4%) occurred in the medical centre and 11 (30.6%) in the medical room. 22 (61.1%) general public attendants, 7 (19.4%) FIFA members, 5 (13.9%) LOC members and 2 (5.6%) BSWC organisation committee members received care during the tournament. Musculoskeletal complaints were the commonest, accounting for 25 (69.4%) out of 36 cases, followed by dermatologic alterations, heat-related symptoms and abdominal pain. Feet and head/face were the most frequent location of complaints. Treatment was administered in 26 (72.2%) of 36 medical encounters, being wound clean and protection the most frequent treatment option. There were 2 referrals for further medical evaluation and a case with complicated systemic disease was referred t o the emergency department. Medication was given in 11 (30.1%) of 36 presentations, being NSAID administration the most frequent therapeutic option. Risk assessment analysis backed the BSWC15’s medical services masterplan and acknowledged a minimal to mino r potential for public health threats.
Conclusion Medical services at small mass gatherings similar to the BSWC15 should expect to treat minor musculoskeletal injuries and heat -related illnesses and have very small demand surges. The BSWC15’s risk assessment analysis demonstrated that possible health threats would have minimal impact on the event, and a potential minor impact on public health. Despite the latent potential for public health risks and the event’s expected incidence of injury and illness, event medical services planners should always safeguard the onsite services’ capacity to scale up, triage and deal with possible mass adverse events efficiently.
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