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WOA launches landmark Olympian health study

Bangkok, April 19, 2018 - World Olympians Association has launched the largest ever global study that will analyse the long-term health issues of Olympians. The study is supported by the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission, the IOC Athletes’ Commission and the IOC Athletes’ Entourage Commission.

Joining WOA President Joël Bouzou OLY at SportAccord 2018 in Bangkok to announce the launch today were International Ski Federation (FIS) Secretary General Sarah Lewis OLY and World Rowing (FISA) President Jean-Christophe Rolland OLY, the first two Olympians to complete the health study. More than 10,000 Olympians, who no longer compete at an Olympic level, are being targeted to take part in the study. The study is being promoted to all International Federations at the GAISF General Assembly tomorrow.

As part of WOA’s strategic priority to support Olympians through life transition, the health study will generate new knowledge on the long-term musculoskeletal and overall general health of Olympians and identify the risk factors associated with elite-level sport in this area.

Dr Debbie Palmer OLY, an associate professor and researcher in sports injury and illness prevention at Edinburgh Napier University, is leading the study. Dr Palmer competed in short track speed skating for Great Britain at three Olympic Winter Games and has previously carried out research for the International Olympic Committee as part of the IOC’s Scientific and Medical Research group.

The study is an international collaboration between Edinburgh Napier University; the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre; University of Nottingham; Arthritis Research UK, Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis; University of Calgary, University of Alberta; the IOC Medical and Scientific Department; and the Institute for Sport, Exercise and Health, London.

“We are proud to launch WOA’s Olympian health study, which will greatly enhance the limited existing knowledge of the long-term health impact on Olympians. Our aim is to use this analysis to inform evidence-based recommendations and best-practice guidelines to benefit Olympians and other elite athletes. I would like to thank Dr Debbie Palmer for leading this vital piece of research and IF leaders Sarah Lewis and Jean-Christophe Rolland for helping to share the important message of this study to Olympians worldwide,” said WOA President Joël Bouzou Oly.

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