Medical care in unlicensed combat sports: A need for standardised regulatory frameworks

Alex Channon, Christopher Matthews, Mathew Hillier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: To explore the provision of medical care at ‘unlicensed’, full-contact amateur and lower-level professional combat sports competitions in England.
Design: Qualitative, mixed methods.
Methods: Observations totalling 200 hours of fieldwork shadowing medical professionals at 27 individual combat sports events, alongside formal, semi-structured interviews with 25 medical professionals, 7 referees and 9 promoters/event staff.
Results: Practices and standards vary widely. Event organisers and promoters often have very little understanding of how different types of medical practitioners operate. They rarely, if ever, check that the staff they are hiring are qualified, sometimes resulting in unqualified staff being used to provide medical cover at events. Venues are often poorly equipped to accommodate basic medical procedures. Patient confidentiality is very often compromised. Medical professionals often have limited autonomy within the combat sports milieu and may find themselves marginalised, with their judgements overruled by non-medical staff during competitive events. Some practitioners are cognisant of the dangers such working environments pose to their professional reputations and livelihoods, but remain working within combat sports regardless.
Conclusions: Despite pockets of good practice, the lack of standardised rules for medical care provision creates substantial risks to athletes, to practitioners and the standing of the profession. The development and implementation of standardised, enforceable regulatory frameworks for full-contact combat sports in England is urgently needed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2019

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combat sport
Sports
Health care
medical care
event
staff
England
contact
professional sports
referee
amateur
Confidentiality
hiring
athlete
Athletes
reputation
livelihood
best practice
autonomy
profession

Keywords

  • Boxing
  • Sociological Factors
  • Martial Arts
  • Professionalism
  • Regulation

Cite this

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title = "Medical care in unlicensed combat sports: A need for standardised regulatory frameworks",
abstract = "Objective: To explore the provision of medical care at ‘unlicensed’, full-contact amateur and lower-level professional combat sports competitions in England.Design: Qualitative, mixed methods.Methods: Observations totalling 200 hours of fieldwork shadowing medical professionals at 27 individual combat sports events, alongside formal, semi-structured interviews with 25 medical professionals, 7 referees and 9 promoters/event staff.Results: Practices and standards vary widely. Event organisers and promoters often have very little understanding of how different types of medical practitioners operate. They rarely, if ever, check that the staff they are hiring are qualified, sometimes resulting in unqualified staff being used to provide medical cover at events. Venues are often poorly equipped to accommodate basic medical procedures. Patient confidentiality is very often compromised. Medical professionals often have limited autonomy within the combat sports milieu and may find themselves marginalised, with their judgements overruled by non-medical staff during competitive events. Some practitioners are cognisant of the dangers such working environments pose to their professional reputations and livelihoods, but remain working within combat sports regardless.Conclusions: Despite pockets of good practice, the lack of standardised rules for medical care provision creates substantial risks to athletes, to practitioners and the standing of the profession. The development and implementation of standardised, enforceable regulatory frameworks for full-contact combat sports in England is urgently needed.",
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Medical care in unlicensed combat sports : A need for standardised regulatory frameworks. / Channon, Alex; Matthews, Christopher; Hillier, Mathew.

In: Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 31.10.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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N2 - Objective: To explore the provision of medical care at ‘unlicensed’, full-contact amateur and lower-level professional combat sports competitions in England.Design: Qualitative, mixed methods.Methods: Observations totalling 200 hours of fieldwork shadowing medical professionals at 27 individual combat sports events, alongside formal, semi-structured interviews with 25 medical professionals, 7 referees and 9 promoters/event staff.Results: Practices and standards vary widely. Event organisers and promoters often have very little understanding of how different types of medical practitioners operate. They rarely, if ever, check that the staff they are hiring are qualified, sometimes resulting in unqualified staff being used to provide medical cover at events. Venues are often poorly equipped to accommodate basic medical procedures. Patient confidentiality is very often compromised. Medical professionals often have limited autonomy within the combat sports milieu and may find themselves marginalised, with their judgements overruled by non-medical staff during competitive events. Some practitioners are cognisant of the dangers such working environments pose to their professional reputations and livelihoods, but remain working within combat sports regardless.Conclusions: Despite pockets of good practice, the lack of standardised rules for medical care provision creates substantial risks to athletes, to practitioners and the standing of the profession. The development and implementation of standardised, enforceable regulatory frameworks for full-contact combat sports in England is urgently needed.

AB - Objective: To explore the provision of medical care at ‘unlicensed’, full-contact amateur and lower-level professional combat sports competitions in England.Design: Qualitative, mixed methods.Methods: Observations totalling 200 hours of fieldwork shadowing medical professionals at 27 individual combat sports events, alongside formal, semi-structured interviews with 25 medical professionals, 7 referees and 9 promoters/event staff.Results: Practices and standards vary widely. Event organisers and promoters often have very little understanding of how different types of medical practitioners operate. They rarely, if ever, check that the staff they are hiring are qualified, sometimes resulting in unqualified staff being used to provide medical cover at events. Venues are often poorly equipped to accommodate basic medical procedures. Patient confidentiality is very often compromised. Medical professionals often have limited autonomy within the combat sports milieu and may find themselves marginalised, with their judgements overruled by non-medical staff during competitive events. Some practitioners are cognisant of the dangers such working environments pose to their professional reputations and livelihoods, but remain working within combat sports regardless.Conclusions: Despite pockets of good practice, the lack of standardised rules for medical care provision creates substantial risks to athletes, to practitioners and the standing of the profession. The development and implementation of standardised, enforceable regulatory frameworks for full-contact combat sports in England is urgently needed.

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