Each player comes to see me–between on-field, snowy training sessions and team meals–in “the hospital” (as players call my room) for a medical screening physical. This screening includes an in-depth medical history, musculoskeletal exam, injury/illness screening, vision screening, blood pressure and heart rate checks, and an emotional health questionnaire. Based on these findings, I will recommend follow-up treatments, physician consultations, stress management tools, and stretching and strengthening programs. Today, the team was educated and performed injury prevention exercises. They are also stretching daily and following hydration guidelines.
My days are busy but I am looking into the future to help the players get their bodies ready to play the qualifying matches for the CONIFA 2018 tournament. As with many soccer teams, they have many laughs and fun together (jokes, shared selfies, and water bottle flip challenges). They also get mad when they miss a pass or goal. However, these young men are sad and worried about their Darfuri families and people in the refugee camps. They want to be fit and strong to play the soccer matches that will get them international attention. The attention that will then be directed toward the refugee camps in eastern Chad. The attention that will bring about change and hope to their loved ones left behind in the camps. So, this week, the cuts need to be bandaged up, the sore muscles stretched, and the knees taped because the Darfur United Training Camp has a much greater purpose.
Join The Pride, the official supporters’ club for Darfur United, to amplify the voices of the team and be a part of their journey.