Zagreb, May 11, 2020 – 15th Session of the COC’s Medical Commission was held in the premises of the Croatian Olympic Committee, whose main agenda were report on the measures taken to protect male and female athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic and guidelines for work in the circumstances of the return of sports competitions. The Session was led by Commission President Miran Martinac MD, and, in addition to permanent members, the guests - Director of the Croatian Institute for Public Health - CIPH (HZJZ) Krunoslav Capak MD and Director of the Croatian Institute for Health and Safety at Work (HZZZSR) Marija Bubaš MD - participated in its work.
The Secretary of the Croatian Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission, our most famous nutritionist Mimi Vurdelja, highlighted in the opening statement the agility of Commission members in the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- We at the Croatian Olympic Committee were the first to start making and sending recommendations to federations and clubs to protect the health of athletes. I need to inform you that immediately after the appearance of COVID-19, we received from doctor Capak a telephone number the athletes can contact. We're very grateful for that...
Saying that there is no longer a virus circulating among us and that we have one of the best epidemiological situations in the world, doctor Capak spoke with much optimism about the current epidemiological situation in Croatia, but also about the aspects of return of sport to normal functioning. However, but one can never be too careful:
- We have to continue being careful because the virus is still there, and it can very easily come to us from the outside. Because of the tourist motives we are currently the most open country in Europe, and the situation in our environment is not great - Germany, France, Spain, the hotspots in South America, all this suggests caution. As for sports, you know that in mid-May, with easing of measures, we allowed training to top athletes. There's already a Football Cup tomorrow and we're under pressure to let the fans to the stadiums. Not yet.
Doctor Capak also reflected on the return of indoor sports competitions:
- bocce and bowling competitions will begin from June 12th, and after that we will consider the possibility of spectators in the stands.
In addition to making continuous recommendations for the preservation of health of athletes, the COC’s Medical Commission intends, in cooperation with the HZJZ partners, to initiate serological testing of Croatian Olympians and to produce the immune health records of Olympic athletes. As reported by the Commission Secretary and Head of Health Care at the Croatian Olympic Committee Mimi Vurdelja, there are 64 individual top athletes and three men's national teams. Doctor Capak pledged support in implementation of these activities, which, according to the Commission Secretary, will bring savings of about 200,000 kuna.
The Head of the Anti-doping Division at the HZJZ, Roman Latinović MD, reported that on 26 May the anti-doping testing of athlete(s) in individual sports was launched, and that football competitions will begin in the team/team competition as well. He also recalled the fact that his office is in the process of implementing the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) new anti-doping code.
A proposal by the Secretary General of the Croatian Car and Carting Federation Zrinko Gregurek, who presented - at the recent Session of the Croatian Olympic Committee’s Council - to the leading COC’s body the foreign practice of installing the so-called disinfection tunnel for spectators of sports events. Praising all measures aimed at protecting people at sports competitions, doctor Dinko Pivalica said that regardless of the external decontamination of those who enter, this method cannot eliminate asymptomatic phenomena (those who are carriers of viruses and spreaders of infection without even realizing it).
Therefore, the Croatian Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission unanimously endorsed the conclusion of its President, Miran Martinec MD:
- We consider this type of prevention desirable for all enclosed spaces, but the final word on this should be given by the profession, i.e. epidemiologists, from whom we have requested expert opinion.
At the end of the Session, a proposal was agreed on holding a roundtable meeting on 17 June, which should be attended by: Minister of Health in the Government of the Republic of Croatia Vili Beroš, HZJZ Director Krunoslav Capak, State Secretary of the Central State Office for Sports Tomislav Družak and COC President Zlatko Mateša as host, as well as WADA representatives. (COC/VK)