Ireland’s soccer-playing doctors are off to Austria for the World Medical Football Championship, with the support of proud sponsor Affidea.
To take part in the annual championship this July, players must be doctors, and must produce their passports and even copies of their medical degrees before kick-off. The referee holds a medical pop-quiz of medical knowledge on the pitch before each match to make sure the players are indeed qualified medical doctors!
With 7 of the players being Dublin-based GPs, other sportsmen are travelling from Donegal, Cork, Waterford, Westmeath, Roscommon, Galway, Limerick, and even Portland, USA, and Vancouver, Canada, to don the green jersey for Ireland.
The team consists entirely of doctors, interns and consultants, from all areas of medicine including: General Practice, Gynaecology, Orthopaedic Surgery, General Internal Medicine, Radiation Oncology, Colorectal Surgery, Paediatric Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, Anaesthetics, Ophthalmology and Medical Oncology.
These physician footballers seem to have greater longevity than their professional counterparts, with the players’ ages ranging from 28 to 62. The competition rules even state that each team must have at least two players aged over 35 and over 40 on the pitch!
Ireland will also be represented in the Masters (over 45s) competition this year for the first time.
Affidea, Ireland’s leading independent diagnostic imaging provider, formerly known as Euromedic, is the team’s sponsor. Tom Finn, CEO of Affidea, said: “As our mantra goes, nothing is more important than health and football is a fun way to keep fit, so the Medical World Cup is perfect for our doctors – who are also skilled sportsmen – to lead by example. We are delighted to sponsor the team for the third year running and let’s hope it’s a hat-trick for the boys in green! We wish them the best of luck in Austria.”
Tommy Fitzgerald, GP and centre back, said: “We are delighted to get the chance to go and compete for the Championships again this year, having put in great performances in the last two tournaments. We are confident that overall victory is achievable and that all of our hard work since November will pay off. It is a huge boost to welcome the Masters Team this year and it’s fantastic to fulfil our ambition of getting players from all age groups involved. As we continue our partnership with Pieta House, an important role for us is to promote the benefits of physical activity on both physical and mental health – we practice what we preach!”
— Affidea Ireland (@AffideaIreland) July 1, 2017
— IrishMedicalFootball (@Irelandmedical) July 4, 2017
— Affidea Ireland (@AffideaIreland) June 8, 2017