Dr Neo Theima Lekaukau watching muaythai contests during the European Championships
Dr Neo Theima Lekaukau watching muaythai contests during the European Championships

Muaythai athletes competing at IFMA events know they’re in safe hands with every organiser following the same rules for health and safety. Local medical teams work with the IFMA medical commission experts to ensure a safe and clean muaythai tournament for all the athletes.

The IFMA medical commission is headed up by Dr Erdogan Aydin from Turkey. A hospital doctor he also volunteers as a muaythai referee so he has a deep understanding of the athletes’ needs. The commission meets during every major tournament; and hosts regular online sessions to keep abreast of the latest developments.

As well as the medical focus in the arenas, Dr Erdogan also spearheads the education programme for athletes and coaches on doping and dehydration rules. Listen back to the muaythai doctor’s speech at the 2017 Athletes’ Forum here.

Dr Erdogan Aydin at the muaythai World University Championships
Dr Erdogan Aydin at the muaythai World University Championships FISU

The IFMA anti-doping taskforce is also one of Dr Aydin’s responsibilities with IFMA constantly seeking to eliminate doping at all levels through education and support for athletes.

During the European Championships 2018 in Prague Dr Neo Theima Lekaukau worked with Global Assistance at the arena. There were two rings in action each day, so the team had three medics at each ring with a back-up team waiting in the wings. And as with most sports events today, there was an ambulance for any more serious calls.

Dr Neo says: “It’s been amazing for me, I never even watched muaythai before so to see it like this was really interesting.

“I was worried at first, but the injuries were not bad. The fighters have protective gear, so mainly the injuries we treated were cuts – cuts by the eyes a little, and then nose-bleeds which is not serious.”

She says there is an arrangement with a local hospital to receive more serious injuries if necessary and treat them there.

“In the stadium you should have a doctor – so I’m a doctor, then you need paramedics and nurses. They should be well-equipped and trained to help with first aid or emergency situations. I’m happy to be here with Global Assistance, everyone knows what they’re doing,” she says.

That said, it seems Dr Neo might have the muaythai bug. When asked if she’d like to have a go, she says: “ I do run a lot, I don’t know if I’m the competing type, but I’d like to try the training. It’s always good to learn something new, and try it out.”

During the 2016 World Championships two doctors with martial arts experience worked with the medical teams. Read what doctors Lisa Villabona and Anna Liljedahl had to say about amateur muaythai as part of the Humans of IFMA series on IFMA Facebook.

Follow the Anti-Doping links on this website to learn more about IFMA and clean muaythai.