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Athletes as community; athletes in community: covid-19, sporting mega-events and athlete health protection
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  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}exeter.ac.uk

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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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