EFA (EuroLeague Framework Agreement) Explained: Player Health & Safety

Dec 25, 2023 | Home News, Media, News

With the new series of articles called “EFA Explained”, EuroLeague Players Association (ELPA) intends to notify and educate wider audience on the intricacies of the EuroLeague Framework Agreement (EFA). In each posted article, ELPA will explain a specific topic within the agreement and provide practical examples of the rules and regulations that determine the relationship between the players, the EuroLeague and its clubs.

The current EFA is set to expire at the end of the 2023/24 season, however, the initial steps to negotiate a new agreement have already been made between the ELPA, EuroLeague Basketball and the clubs.

For any further questions regarding the EFA, please contact ELPA at info@elpa.basketball.

EFA Explained: Player Health & Safety

EuroLeague Framework Agreement (EFA) takes concrete steps to formally codify critical health standards that protect players throughout the season. By safeguarding players’ health and availability, these rules also improve the level of competition and quality of play, which provides great benefit to clubs and the EuroLeague as a whole.

Health Insurance

Under Chapter II of the EFA, clubs commit to provide each player with superior health insurance throughout the duration of their contract, with dental care included. Furthermore, the EFA also stipulates that clubs will provide basic health insurance to players’ immediate family members, provided that they live in the city where the club is based.

Guaranteeing players these health insurance benefits is extremely important, as it provides them with a peace of mind, and assures them that they will not be faced with overwhelming medical bills in case of an injury or accident to themselves or their loved ones. This added security allows players to focus completely on training and competing at the highest level.

Start-of-Season Medical Check-Up

At the beginning of each season, each player is given a standardized medical examination. This includes a cardiac screening, in addition to a variety of other tests and evaluations. To ensure the player’s safety, the check-up must be completed before the player is allowed to engage in any physical activity with the club.

This annual check-up serves the important purpose of ensuring that all players are fully healthy and able to participate in basketball activities prior to the start of the season. It also provides an opportunity to identify any potential lingering issues that may compromise player availability during the grueling EuroLeague schedule.

Playing Surfaces

Unsafe playing surfaces can cause serious injuries, which negatively impact the game and potentially even derail a player’s career. To prevent this, the EFA places regulations on EuroLeague courts to prevent avoidable injuries.

In general, stickers are not allowed to be placed on the court, except for the EuroLeague and in some cases team logos in specific locations (mid-court). All other logos or advertisements on the court must be painted. These limitations ensure maximum traction for players and prevent dangerous falls.

In addition, the use of canvases, cardboard, paper, tape, and other materials to fix advertisements on or around the court is completely prohibited.

Finally, the EFA also states that if the playing surface seems unsafe for any other reason (humidity, liquids, etc.), players will not participate until the issue is resolved.

Concussion Protocol

EFA also obliges clubs to guarantee the application of a specific protocol in case of head injuries of players.

A pre-season neurocognitive assessment of each player is conducted by the club’s medical staff, which serves as a baseline assessment. In case of player’s suspected concussion suffered in a practice or game, tests are conducted and compared to player’s baseline assessment. In order to return to play,  a graduated return-to-play protocol (GRTP) must be followed and completed.

Neutral Second Medical Opinion 

Under Article 14 of the EFA, both clubs and players have the right to seek a neutral second medical opinion regarding injuries and treatment. This mechanism helps both parties gather more information regarding a diagnosis or potential options for care and recovery.

Guaranteeing the right to a second opinion is an important achievement of the EFA, and represents real progress towards protecting both the player and the club in case the initial evaluation is incorrect.

Medical Staff

As part of the EFA, the EuroLeague is committed to working with clubs on improving medical services for players. Prior to the commencement of training camp, each club must submit credentials for all members of their medical staff to both the EuroLeague and the ELPA for review. This documentation must be submitted at least seven days in advance, to allow time for the review to be completed before training camp.

Furthermore, the EFA mandates emergency health standards–each club must travel with at least one member of their medical staff who holds valid CPR and AED certification.

Conclusion

The EuroLeague Framework Agreement brings all parties to the table to make athlete safety a reality. Players deserve to compete knowing that their health is protected, and both the ELPA and the EuroLeague are proud of the progress that the EFA has made to ensure that players are available and prepared to safely compete throughout the season.

Everybody benefits from the availability of elite talent–the league: clubs, sponsors, fans, and of course the players themselves. Continued progress in this area relies on a shared commitment to care for the athletes that fans admire and support.

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