UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

International Olympic Committee consensus statement on thermoregulatory and altitude challenges for high-level athletes


Bergeron, M F; Bahr, R; Bärtsch, P; Bourdon, L; Calbet, J A L; Carlsen, K H; Castagna, O; González-Alonso, J; Lundby, C; Maughan, R J; Millet, G; Mountjoy, M; Racinais, S; Rasmussen, P; Singh, D G; Subudhi, A W; Young, A J; Soligard, T; Engebretsen, L (2012). International Olympic Committee consensus statement on thermoregulatory and altitude challenges for high-level athletes. British journal of sports medicine, 46(11):770-779.

Abstract

Challenging environmental conditions, including heat and humidity, cold, and altitude, pose particular risks to the health of Olympic and other high-level athletes. As a further commitment to athlete safety, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Medical Commission convened a panel of experts to review the scientific evidence base, reach consensus, and underscore practical safety guidelines and new research priorities regarding the unique environmental challenges Olympic and other international-level athletes face. For non-aquatic events, external thermal load is dependent on ambient temperature, humidity, wind speed and solar radiation, while clothing and protective gear can measurably increase thermal strain and prompt premature fatigue. In swimmers, body heat loss is the direct result of convection at a rate that is proportional to the effective water velocity around the swimmer and the temperature difference between the skin and the water. Other cold exposure and conditions, such as during Alpine skiing, biathlon and other sliding sports, facilitate body heat transfer to the environment, potentially leading to hypothermia and/or frostbite; although metabolic heat production during these activities usually increases well above the rate of body heat loss, and protective clothing and limited exposure time in certain events reduces these clinical risks as well. Most athletic events are held at altitudes that pose little to no health risks; and training exposures are typically brief and well-tolerated. While these and other environment-related threats to performance and safety can be lessened or averted by implementing a variety of individual and event preventative measures, more research and evidence-based guidelines and recommendations are needed. In the mean time, the IOC Medical Commission and International Sport Federations have implemented new guidelines and taken additional steps to mitigate risk even further.

Abstract

Challenging environmental conditions, including heat and humidity, cold, and altitude, pose particular risks to the health of Olympic and other high-level athletes. As a further commitment to athlete safety, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Medical Commission convened a panel of experts to review the scientific evidence base, reach consensus, and underscore practical safety guidelines and new research priorities regarding the unique environmental challenges Olympic and other international-level athletes face. For non-aquatic events, external thermal load is dependent on ambient temperature, humidity, wind speed and solar radiation, while clothing and protective gear can measurably increase thermal strain and prompt premature fatigue. In swimmers, body heat loss is the direct result of convection at a rate that is proportional to the effective water velocity around the swimmer and the temperature difference between the skin and the water. Other cold exposure and conditions, such as during Alpine skiing, biathlon and other sliding sports, facilitate body heat transfer to the environment, potentially leading to hypothermia and/or frostbite; although metabolic heat production during these activities usually increases well above the rate of body heat loss, and protective clothing and limited exposure time in certain events reduces these clinical risks as well. Most athletic events are held at altitudes that pose little to no health risks; and training exposures are typically brief and well-tolerated. While these and other environment-related threats to performance and safety can be lessened or averted by implementing a variety of individual and event preventative measures, more research and evidence-based guidelines and recommendations are needed. In the mean time, the IOC Medical Commission and International Sport Federations have implemented new guidelines and taken additional steps to mitigate risk even further.

Citations

38 citations in Web of Science®
44 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:04 Dec 2012 14:32
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:05
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
Series Name:British Journal of Sports Medicine
ISSN:0306-3674
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2012-091296
PubMed ID:22685119

Download

Full text not available from this repository.
View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations