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Athletes as community; athletes in community: covid-19, sporting mega-events and athlete health protection
  1. Robert H Mann1,
  2. Bryan C Clift2,
  3. Jules Boykoff3,
  4. Sheree Bekker4
  1. 1 Children's Health and Exercise Research Centre, Department of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  2. 2 Centre for Qualitative Research, University of Bath, Bath, UK
  3. 3 Politics and Government, Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon, USA
  4. 4 Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, UK
  1. Correspondence to Robert H Mann, Children's Health and Exercise Research Centre, Department of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4PY, Devon, UK; rm537{at}

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‘This is far bigger than our dreams right now. Now more than ever is a time to think bigger than yourself. Protect yourself, your families and your communities’.

Melissa Bishop-Nriagu (Canadian 800 m record holder).

The current coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic presents an extraordinary public health challenge. The WHO defines a pandemic as the global spread of a new disease for which there is little or no pre-existing immunity in the human population. Worldwide, we have seen ambitious public health measures implemented by governments, non-governmental organisations and individuals alike. Yet, there is still more to be done to ‘flatten the curve’ and mitigate the impact of this pandemic.

Sporting ‘mega-events’ are international, out of the ordinary and generally large in composition.1 These include the Olympic Games, which provide mass-spectacle for the public2 while producing significant health and socioeconomic impacts for host nation(s),3 including an increased risk for transmission of infectious diseases.4 Therefore, pandemics like covid-19 bring added urgency to examine the impacts of hosting sporting mega-events.

As sporting mega-events have been cancelled and postponed in response to covid-19, the rhetoric emerging from international sporting organisations, such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has emphasised the importance of protecting athlete health. While this messaging around the decision to postpone …

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  • Contributors RM, SB and BC were responsible for the initial concept. RM wrote the first draft of the manuscript, with SB and BC making initial revisions. All other revisions by RM were circulated and commented on by SB, BC and JB. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.