Over the course of the weekend’s A-Leagues matches, heat had an impact on the health and wellbeing of players, while Adelaide United’s Juande Prados Lopez suffered a serious leg injury.

The PFA’s thoughts are with Juande and the organisation will ensure he has all the support necessary for his recovery.  

Understandably, following this weekend’s matches there has been discussion regarding the current protections in place for players. As such, the PFA reaffirms the protections in place in relation to the following: 

  • emergency care that is available to players at matches in accordance with the A-Leagues Minimum Medical Standards (MMS); and 
  • the impact heat is having on players across the competition and steps that have been taken by the PFA. 

Minimum Medical Standards (MMS) 

Through the A-Leagues MMS, there must be emergency medical care available to all players at all matches. The emergency medical services must comprise of the following: 

  • an Emergency Physician with the relevant emergency medical equipment and supplies that would otherwise have been provided by the relevant state or territory ambulance service. It is recommended that an on-site ambulance transport vehicle is also present at the venue; or
  • an on-site ambulance with two (2) trained and AHPRA registered paramedics that: 

(i) have the relevant emergency medical equipment and supplies;

(ii) have the ability to possess and administer schedule four (4) drugs (e.g. adrenalin) and schedule eight (8) drugs (e.g. opiates); and 

(iii) can perform advanced life support. 

There has been much discussion regarding an ambulance not being at the A-League Men match between Melbourne City and Adelaide United. The reason for this is because Ambulance Victoria withdrew stationary ambulances from A-Leagues matches in 2018. 

As a result, where public ambulances are not available, Emergency Physicians must be in attendance in addition to Club Doctors.

Emergency Physicians are doctors who are specialised in emergency medicine and, as special practitioners, they are able to provide a higher level of care than a paramedic. Private ambulance providers are not a viable option as they cannot undertake emergency transportation. In every other state it remains policy to have static state ambulance at the venue for the match.

For more information on the MMS, please contact a PFA staff member (members only).

In addition, all players are covered by comprehensive insurance protections in the event they suffer a serious injury.

Impact of heat on players 

Prior to all matches, the PFA examines the forecasted temperatures at all matches and then liaises with the APL to address potential risks to players. Immediately after matches, players complete feedback surveys which address any of their concerns, which the PFA staff take up directly with APL. 

While the current APL Heat Policy (which is superior to FIFA’s) is being complied with, the health and safety of players and the match quality has been regularly adversely impacted by heat during afternoon kick-offs.

The PFA has once again expressed the players’ concerns to APL after the weekend’s matches and will meet with the APL this week in an attempt to achieve better outcomes for players.