Eight renowned practitioners of sports medicine and its associated disciplines from India, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan and  the UAE gathered in Kuala Lumpur in July to address the issue of best practise for Age-Verification Protocols. "Age-Verification is necessary simply because in many parts of Asia, birth-registration and official certification is not completely accurate." In ACC U-15 and U-17 age-group tournaments, as with the tournaments held by PCB, BCCI, FIFA and AFC, we wish to ensure that 'like plays like'," says ACC Medicine Officer Dr. Vece Paes. "The issue is one of player development, player safety and just as importantly, the development of a national base of cricketers", he said.

ACC Medical Forum, Kuala Lumpur, August 2008
(from l to r) Dr. Shahrin Merican, Kuala Lumpur Sports Medicine Center; Dr. Bhujang Pai, P.D.Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai; Dr. Vece Paes; Dr. Ashok Kumar, New Medical Centre, Abu Dhabi; Dr. Sohail Salem, Pakistan Cricket Board; Dr. Gurchuran Singh; Dr. Ashok Ahuja, National Institute of Sports, Patiala; Dr. Satish Bajaj, Siddhartha Hospital, Kathmandu

The elite panel of radiologists and sports medicine practitioners examined the comparative merits of MRI scans and minimally invasive X-rays in determining as accurately as possible a player's bone age. 30% - 90% disparities have been found between registered ages and actual bone ages in previous tournaments. "It took football four years to clear all  irregularities," says Head of the Medical Department of the Asian Football Confederation Dr. Gurcharan Singh, "we worked in an unbiased and scientific manner and I'm sure that the ACC can do the same. After more than 50 years Asian teams are now in a much stronger position to compete in international youth tournaments."

Filed August 11, 2008