The 2014 IOC World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport came to a close on 12 April, in Monaco.
The meetings, described by many delegates as the most constructive yet for researchers and practitioners in the field of sports medicine and prevention, were attended by a record 980 participants from 81 countries, and included 113 speakers, 5 keynote lectures, 24 symposia, 76 workshops and 202 abstracts; a remarkable increase at all levels from the last edition in 2011.
The Conference was the second organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and was attended by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, President of the NOC of Monaco and IOC member along with fellow member Dr Robin Mitchell, IOC Medical Director Richard Budgett, IOC Head of Scientific Activities Lars Engebretsen and a large number of world-renown experts in the fields of sports medicine and injury and illness prevention.
Experts, team physicians from National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs), and students exchanged news of the latest research and advances in the prevention of injury and illness in athletes. Several symposia and workshops on application of the field’s current knowledge highlighted that the message and penetration are improving.
“We went into the Conference with high expectations and these were exceeded on every front”, said IOC Medical Director Dr Richard Budgett. “From the opening session with HSH Prince Albert II, all participants threw themselves into the workshops, keynotes, symposia and poster sessions delivered by inspirational researchers and practitioners.”
He added: “The Conference will change the practice of prevention, boost further research and protect the health of athletes everywhere. The success is a tribute to all those who worked so hard to bring this unique three-yearly Conference to fruition; to our wonderful hosts in Monaco and most of all, to the nearly 1000 delegates who brought it to life and will ensure that their new understanding and knowledge translates into action, in particular in preventing injuries and illnesses in athletes all over the world until we meet again in three years' time.”
The protection of the athletes’ health is a top priority for the IOC, which is working together with different stakeholders to make this objective a reality. For instance, the event also saw the participation of Worldwide Olympic Partner GE. As official provider of medical imaging and ultrasound equipment to the Olympic Games, GE Healthcare successfully held a workshop on its Point of Care Ultrasound technology empowering elite athlete care.
The Conference is being followed by a three-day Advanced Team Physician Course (14-16 April) in Mandelieu, France, which will convene 150 participants from around the world to provide knowledge and insights on sports medicine to NOC physicians.
While there are many health benefits that can be derived from the practice of sport, there is also an inherent risk of injury and illness, especially at the elite level. The IOC has therefore initiated and supported research on various topics related to the health of athletes, with the ultimate objective of significantly reducing injuries and illnesses in sport.
The IOC also conducts an extensive surveillance study during each edition of the Olympic Games, collecting invaluable information on all athlete injuries and illnesses acquired during competition and, or training, in order to gain further knowledge about the effectiveness and weaknesses of existing prevention programmes.