Background One of the goals of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Medical and Scientific Commission is to provide guidance in relation to injury prevention and the protection of athlete health. One way of meeting this goal is the development and dissemination of sports medicine consensus statements. It is not known if, or how, these consensus statements are used by staff within the National Olympic medical commissions.
Objective This study aimed to identify which of the IOC medical consensus statements were most widely known and used by a selection of Olympic sports medicine professionals in South Africa and Australia, and how they were accessed, regarded and used.
Design Qualitative case study.
Methods Semi-structured interviews, document analysis and field notes were utilised. Fourteen (n=14) sports medicine professionals directly involved with Olympic athlete health were interviewed in South Africa and Australia.
Results The statements most commonly recalled by participants (without prompting) addressed the topics of Periodic Health Evaluation, Relative Energy Deficiency, Concussion and Load. These documents were noted as having practical information such as a decision flow chart that was easily applicable for athlete management. A further reason for use was relevance outside of the Olympic setting (e.g. sourced in preparing a policy for medical care of a sports team). The consensus statements were most commonly accessed through social media and used by sharing with peers, with or without a tailored summary, cited in publications and talks, or re-read when seeking a quick update on a particular topic.
Conclusions Of 27 consensus statements available, most were not widely known or used by these participants. The documents that were most familiar were perceived as being relevant and practical. In this case, the documents were shared with colleagues by email/social media but not formally adopted or integrated into athlete care.
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