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Mass-gatherings in sport: medicine, leadership and mentorship
  1. Sharief Hendricks1,2,
  2. Adrian Rotunno1,3,
  3. Leigh Gordon1,3,
  4. Janesh Ganda4,
  5. Phathokuhle Cele Zondi5,
  6. Wayne Derman6,7,
  7. Louis Holtzhausen8,9,10,
  8. Éanna Cian Falvey11,
  9. Dina Christina (Christa) Janse van Rensburg9,12
  1. 1 University of Cape Town, Division of Physiological Sciences and Health through Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Sport Research Centre, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  2. 2 Carnegie Applied Rugby Research (CARR) Centre, Carnegie School of Sport, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK
  3. 3 Cape Sports Medicine, Sport Science Institute of South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa, Cape Sports Medicine Sport Science Institute, Cape Town, South Africa
  4. 4 WITS Sport and Health (WiSH), School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
  5. 5 High Performance Commission, Medical Advisory Committee, South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, Houghton, South Africa
  6. 6 Institute of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Department of Exercise, Sport and Lifestyle Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  7. 7 International Olympic Committee (IOC) Research Centre, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  8. 8 Aspetar, Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence, Doha, Qatar
  9. 9 Section Sports Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
  10. 10 Department of Exercise and Sports Science, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
  11. 11 World Rugby, Dublin, Ireland
  12. 12 Medical Advisory Panel, World Netball, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sharief Hendricks, Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa; sharief.hendricks01{at}

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Mass-gathering medicine

The World Health Organistion (WHO) defines a mass gathering as a planned or spontaneous event where the number of people attending could strain the planning and response resources of the community or country hosting the event.1 The seed for mass-gathering medicine as a specialty was sown in the 2009 Hajj, which was held during the 2009 HIN1 influenza pandemic.2 ,3 Major international sporting events are also mass gatherings that require the planning and delivery of healthcare, not only for the athlete and their team, but also for the attendees and event staff. Typically, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) is appointed to lead a team of medical officers responsible for the planning, organising, managing and delivery of healthcare. In addition to a strong grasp of sports medicine, medical officers at sporting events need leadership and organisational skills, some of which are not typically taught at medical schools. Understanding the demands and challenges of the role may strengthen young sports medicine physicians’ aspirations to become a CMO in the future.

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO)

The overarching objective of the CMO …

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  • X @Sharief_H, @phatho_z, @Louidoc

  • Contributors All authors provided input, editing and reviewing.

  • 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 SH, PCZ, WD and CvR are members of the BJSM Editorial Board.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.