Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Writing a new code of ethics for sports physicians: principles and challenges
  1. L Anderson
  1. Correspondence to Dr L Anderson, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, PO Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand; lynley.anderson{at}


A code of ethics for sports physicians needs to be clear, appropriate and practically useful to clinicians in everyday clinical circumstances and for situations that may be difficult or contentious. For a code of ethics to be so apposite requires that it have some basis in the ethical concerns of clinicians. This article reflects on the recent experience of rewriting the code of ethics for the Australasian College of Sports Physicians, describing the findings from the research, the processes and challenges that arose, and providing suggestions for other code writers in this field.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was received from the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • i Sports physician is a term limited to those who have trained and become Fellows of the Australasian College of Sports Physicians. Sports doctors are usually general practitioners with a particular interest in sports medicine who care for athletes or teams, sometimes at the highest level. The research was carried out on a mix of sports doctors and physicians and when both are referred to the term sports medical practitioners will be used.

  • ii Approved by the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee.

  • iii One research participant was unsure of what he or she would do under the circumstances.