Female athlete health domains: a supplement to the International Olympic Committee consensus statement on methods for recording and reporting epidemiological data on injury and illness in sport

Isabel S Moore, Kay M Crossley, Kari Bo, Margo Mountjoy, Kathryn E Ackerman, Juliana Da Silva Antero, Jorunn Sundgot borgen, Wendy J Brown, Caroline S Bolling, Benjamin Clarsen, Wayne Derman, Paul Dijkstra, Amber Donaldson, Kirsty J Elliott-Sale, Carolyn A Emery, Lene Haakstad, Astrid Junge, Nonhlanhla Sharon Mkumbuzi, Sophia Nimphius, Debbie PalmerMireille Van poppel, Jane S Thornton, Rita Tomás, Phathokuhle C Zondi, Evert Verhagen

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The IOC made recommendations for recording and reporting epidemiological data on injuries and illness in sports in 2020, but with little, if any, focus on female athletes. Therefore, the aims of this supplement to the IOC consensus statement are to (i) propose a taxonomy for categorisation of female athlete health problems across the lifespan; (ii) make recommendations for data capture to inform consistent recording and reporting of symptoms, injuries, illnesses and other health outcomes in sports injury epidemiology and (iii) make recommendations for specifications when applying the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology-Sport Injury and Illness Surveillance (STROBE-SIIS) to female athlete health data.

In May 2021, five researchers and clinicians with expertise in sports medicine, epidemiology and female athlete health convened to form a consensus working group, which identified key themes. Twenty additional experts were invited and an iterative process involving all authors was then used to extend the IOC consensus statement, to include issues which affect female athletes.

Ten domains of female health for categorising health problems according to biological, life stage or environmental factors that affect females in sport were identified: menstrual and gynaecological health; preconception and assisted reproduction; pregnancy; postpartum; menopause; breast health; pelvic floor health; breast feeding, parenting and caregiving; mental health and sport environments.

This paper extends the IOC consensus statement to include 10 domains of female health, which may affect female athletes across the lifespan, from adolescence through young adulthood, to mid-age and older age. Our recommendations for data capture relating to female athlete population characteristics, and injuries, illnesses and other health consequences, will improve the quality of epidemiological studies, to inform better injury and illness prevention strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbjsports-2022-106620
Pages (from-to)1164-1174
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number18
Early online date22 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2023

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