Playing football, and physical activity in general, has an effect on a player’s immune status. This effect is directly related to the amount and intensity of training. This must be considered when developing a team’s training programme. Too much load may compromise immunity and lead to illness.
There are a variety of infectious diseases which commonly occur in a football setting. The vast majority of these a relatively minor and lead to minimal morbidity. The most common examples are fungal and viral skin infections and upper respiratory tract infections. These often do not require any specific treatment. It is also important to recognise that more significant conditions can also occur in football players. Frequent travel and risk-taking behaviours are often common in this group and can increase the risk of illness.
As with other the other topics discussed in this diploma course, prevention is a very important consideration. Simple strategies are highly effective at reducing the spread of infectious diseases. Hand washing is an important strategy (which is frequently forgotten). Managing bleeding wounds, and blood in general, having a policy for common infections and planning appropriately for travel can all reduce the risk of spread.