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We administer and deliver sport: we urgently need help from the sports medicine and research community
  1. Neil Hay1,
  2. Annabel Kehoe2
  1. 1 Rugby Victoria, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 British Columbia Rugby Union, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Neil Hay, Rugby Victoria, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia; neil.hay{at}

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As leaders of large, regional sport governing bodies, we share the same goals as the sport medicine and health research community. We want participants to be safe, supported and for women, girls, and members of marginalised communities to have equal access to sport. In this editorial, we explain why the people who administer and deliver amateur sports urgently need help from the research community with finding solutions to a long list of coaching, child safeguarding, discrimination and funding problems.

Playing a sport can deliver lifelong health, psychological and social benefits.1 2 More broadly, as Nelson Mandela said, ‘sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does’. However, the potential positive power of sport is not being realised because of numerous problems detailed below.

For context, we have spent years leading large, regional sport governing bodies (also called sport federations, or unions). The first author (NH) does this as a volunteer. Governing body leaders are directly responsible for administering all aspects of a sport (in our case, rugby union) to thousands of children and adults at schools and amateur clubs across large geographical areas. This …

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  • Contributors Both authors contributed to the conception and writing of this paper equally.

  • 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.

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

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