Home > The IOC > Commissions > Medical And Scientific Commission

Medical And Scientific Commission










Medical Code

IOC concensus statements have been published based on the works of the Medical Commission. Find out more about these publications and reports.

Consensus statement on youth athletic development 

The benefits of sports participation on the health, fitness and well-being of young people has been well proven; nonetheless, there are considerable challenges in trying to maintain inclusive, sustainable and enjoyable participation for all levels of athletic achievement.

In an effort to provide an evidence-based approach to youth athletic development, an IOC panel of medical and scientific experts convened in November 2014 in Lausanne, Switzerland, to evaluate the current state of the science and practice of young athlete development. This statement, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (May 2015), presents the resulting outcome of this meeting and outlines recommendations for developing healthy, resilient and capable young athletes, while providing opportunities for all levels of sports participation and success.

Find out more and read the statement

Consensus meeting on Hyperandrogenism in Women Athletes

In 2010, the IOC Medical Commission held a consensus meeting on Female Hyperandrogenism.  As a result of this meeting, and prior to the 2012 London Olympic Games, the IOC implemented the IOC Regulations on Female Hyperandrogenism (hereafter the “Regulations”). These Regulations were subsequently updated for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, and published in September 2013.

Consensus meeting October 2013

In October 2013, the IOC Medical Commission convened an expert group to review the available scientific and clinical evidence on Hyperandrogenism and to update the Regulations, accordingly. In doing so, the expert group acknowledged that the Regulations are a living document, subject to change from time to time, as further evidence becomes available. The group’s recommendations will be presented to the IOC Executive Board in the first half of 2014.

Consensus statement on concussion in sport

April 2013

This consensus statement is an outcome of the Fourth International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport, held in November 2012 in Zurich, and aimed at defining the best ways to manage and prevent cases of concussion in sport. Concussion, which is one of the most common injuries in sport with potential serious long-term consequences on the health of athletes, was until recently under-diagnosed and treated. It is now fully recognised as a very serious health threat, and sports federations are taking measures to protect athletes from adverse effects and to ensure that players recover adequately following an incident. The new 2012 Zurich Consensus statement, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (March 2013), is designed to build on the principles outlined in the previous research and to develop further conceptual understanding of the problem.

Find out more and read the statement

Consensus Statement on Body Composition Health and Performance in Sport
March 2012

Body composition is an important health and performance variable. In weight-sensitive sports, many athletes use extreme methods to rapidly reduce or maintain a low body mass in order to gain a competitive advantage. This can lead to severe medical problems, with fatal consequences in extreme cases. To date, there is no universally applicable criterion or “gold standard” methodology for body composition assessment. 

The authors of the paper conclude that the multi-component model (derived from body volume, total body water, bone mineral, and body mass) might be employed as a performance or selection criterion. However, when body composition is monitored to assess the effectiveness of an intervention, then other laboratory or field methods such as DXA, densitometry, anthropometry, or ultrasound may be more practical. The Body Mass Index (BMI) is not a useful means of assessing or monitoring body composition (it  is only a measure of relative weight), nor are those methods that make assumptions about the density of fat-free mass in their computation.

Read the Consensus Statement here 
Reproduced from Ackland TR, Lohman TG, Sundgot-Borgen J, et al: Current status of body composition assessment in sport. Review and position statement on behalf of the Ad Hoc Research Working Group on Body Composition Health and Performance, under the auspices of the IOC Medical Commission. Sports Med 2012:42 (3): 227 – 249, with permission from Springer International Publishing Switzerland (© 2011. All rights reserved).

IOC Consensus Statement on the “Health and fitness of young people through physical activity and sport”

12 September 2011

The expert paper defines the health consequences of inactivity; it identifies the determinants of sports participation and drop-outs, and provides recommendations on potential solutions and global partnerships. The ultimate purpose of this scientific effort is to improve the health and fitness of young people throughout the world, thereby decreasing the morbidity and mortality deriving from non-communicable diseases.

Find out more and read the statement 

IOC Medical Commission Statement on female reproductive system in sport

At the April 2011 IOC Medical & Science Group meeting in Monaco, the issue of the continued exclusion of women from some sports on the grounds of the risk of injury to their reproductive system was raised and discussed.  Following the recommendations from the medical and scientific experts at the meeting, the IOC Medical Commission agreed and adopted a statement on injuries to the female reproductive organs: 

“No female athlete should be denied the opportunity to participate in any Olympic sport on the basis that she might sustain an injury to her reproductive organs. A survey of injury data has failed to find any evidence of an increased risk of acute or chronic damage to the female reproductive organs occurring as a direct result of participation in sport.”

IOC Consensus Statement on the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in sports medicine

“Acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries in sport are common and problematic for both athletes and clinicians. A significant proportion of these injuries remain difficult to treat, and many athletes suffer from decreased performance and longstanding pain and discomfort. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is now being widely used to treat musculoskeletal injuries in sport.
Whilst the role of PRP in tissue healing and regeneration may open up a new area in regenerative medicine, there remains a large amount of work to understand the mechanism of action of PRP in the regeneration and repair process of a given tissue. The IOC consensus paper delivers recommendations on this complex topic and is based on preliminary research conducted by experts in this field, such as the Aspetar Hospital in Doha, Qatar."

Find out more and read the statement

IOC consensus statement on sports nutrition 2010

Diet significantly influences athletic performance. All athletes should adopt specific nutritional strategies before, during and after training and competition to maximise their mental and physical performance. Evidence-based guidelines on the amount, composition, and timing of food intake have been defined to help athletes perform and train more effectively, with less risk of illness and injury.

Find out more and read the statement

IOC Consensus Statement on Periodic Health Evaluation of Elite Athletes

16 July 2009

In March 2009, the International Olympic Committee assembled an expert group listed above to discuss the current state of the art of the pre-participation health evaluation aiming to provide recommendations for a practical elite athlete Periodic Health Examination (PHE), as well as to outline the need for further research. The PHE can serve many purposes. The PHE includes a comprehensive assessment of the athlete’s current health status and risk of future injury or disease and, typically, is the entry point for medical care of the athlete. The PHE also serves as a tool for periodic health evaluation and monitoring in athletes.

Find out more and read the statement

IOC expert group publishes consensus statement on knee injury
05 May 2008

Non-contact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is a serious knee injury which affects young women in much higher numbers than young men, especially in sports like basketball, netball and team handball. A group of physicians, physical therapists, biomechanists and other scientists were invited by the IOC Medical Commission to discuss ACL, risk factors, prevention programmes and the need for further research. The expert panel concluded that improved education and greater awareness were key: "Athletes, coaches, and parents all play a vital role in the fight to prevent ACL injuries, which remains the largest single problem in orthopaedic sports medicine".
IOC adopts Consensus Statement on sexual harassment and abuse in sport
08 February 2007

The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) adopted a Consensus Statement on “Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport”. This unique document defines the problems, identifies the risk factors and provides guidelines for prevention and resolution. The aim of the Consensus is to improve the health and protection of athletes through the promotion of effective preventive policy as well as to increase the awareness of these problems among the people in the entourage of the athletes.
Consensus Statement adopted on "Training the Elite Child Athlete"
14 November 2005
Having identified “Training the Elite Child Athlete” as a theme to be carefully studied, the IOC Medical Commission (MC) held a meeting in Lausanne. Coordinated by Margo Mountjoy M.D, member of the IOC MC and Lyle Micheli M.D., of the Harvard Medical School, discussions involved a group of experts including leading paediatric sports medicine and scientific experts from around the world as well as a retired elite child athlete. During the meeting, relative scientific literature was reviewed and safe guidelines were produced for the training of the elite child athlete.
IOC Consensus Statement on the Female Athlete Triad
9 November 2005

Protecting the health of the athlete is the primary goal of the International Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission (IOC MC). While athletes should be encouraged to strive for excellence, there is an obligation on the part of coaches, team physicians, other health care providers, International Federations, and sport governing bodies to recognise pressures, actions, and situations that may be detrimental to the athlete’s health. One area of concern for many female athletes is the pressure to meet unrealistic weight or body fat levels.

Find out more and read the consensus statement 

IOC approves consensus with regard to athletes who have changed sex

17 May 2004

The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the consensus proposed by the IOC Medical Commission stating the conditions to be respected for a person who has changed sex to compete in sports competitions. These conditions will be applied as of the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in 2004 in Athens. The consensus is based on an ad-hoc committee convened by the IOC Medical Commission that met on 28 October 2003 in Stockholm to discuss and issue recommendations on the participation of individuals who have undergone sex reassignment (male to female and vice versa) in sport.

IOC consensus statement on asthma in elite athletes 2008

Find out more and read the statement

IOC consensus statement on molecular basis of connective tissue and muscle injuries in sport 2007

Find out more and read the statement

IOC consensus statement on sudden cardiovascular death in sport 2004

Find out more and read the statement