Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

British Journal of Sports Medicine


BMJ Publishing Group


Office of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Equity and Indigenous) / School of Medical and Health Sciences




Fortington, L. V., Badenhorst, M., Bolling, C., Derman, W., Emery, C. A., Pasanen, K., ... & Finch, C. F. (2023). Are we levelling the playing field? A qualitative case study of the awareness, uptake and relevance of the IOC consensus statements in two countries. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 57(21), 1371-1381.


Objectives: Research evidence is commonly compiled into expert-informed consensus guidelines intended to consolidate and distribute sports medicine knowledge. Between 2003 and 2018, 27 International Olympic Committee (IOC) consensus statements were produced. This study explored the policy and practice impact of the IOC Statements on athlete health and medical team management in two economically and contextually diverse countries. Methods: A qualitative case study design was adopted. Fourteen face-to-face interviews were conducted with purposively selected interviewees, seven participants from Australia (higher economic equality) and seven from South Africa (lower economic equality), representing their national medical commissions (doctors and physiotherapists of Olympic, Paralympic and Youth teams). A framework method was used to analyse interview transcripts and identify key themes. Results: Differences across resource settings were found, particularly in the perceived usefulness of the IOC Statements and their accessibility. Both settings were unsure about the purpose of the IOC Statements and their intended audience. However, both valued the existence of evidence-informed guidelines. In the Australian setting, there was less reliance on the resources developed by the IOC, preferring to use locally contextualised documents that are readily available. Conclusion: The IOC Statements are valuable evidence-informed resources that support translation of knowledge into clinical sports medicine practice. However, to be fully effective, they must be perceived as useful and relevant and should reach their target audiences with ready access. This study showed different contexts require different resources, levels of support and dissemination approaches. Future development and dissemination of IOC Statements should consider the perspectives and the diversity of contexts they are intended for.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License