Mental health in elite athletes: International Olympic Committee consensus statement (2019)

Claudia L. Reardon, Brian Hainline, Cindy Miller Aron, David Baron, Antonia L. Baum, Abhinav Bindra, Richard Budgett, Niccolo Campriani, João Mauricio Castaldelli-Maia, Alan Currie, Jeffrey Lee Derevensky, Ira D. Glick, Paul Gorczynski, Vincent Gouttebarge, Michael A. Grandner, Doug Hyun Han, David Mcduff, Margo Mountjoy, Aslihan Polat, Rosemary PurcellMargot Putukian, Simon Rice, Allen Sills, Todd Stull, Leslie Swartz, Li Jing Zhu, Lars Engebretsen

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Mental health symptoms and disorders are common among elite athletes, may have sport related manifestations within this population and impair performance. Mental health cannot be separated from physical health, as evidenced by mental health symptoms and disorders increasing the risk of physical injury and delaying subsequent recovery. There are no evidence or consensus based guidelines for diagnosis and management of mental health symptoms and disorders in elite athletes. Diagnosis must differentiate character traits particular to elite athletes from psychosocial maladaptations.

Management strategies should address all contributors to mental health symptoms and consider biopsychosocial factors relevant to athletes to maximise benefit and minimise harm. Management must involve both treatment of affected individual athletes and optimising environments in which all elite athletes train and compete. To advance a more standardised, evidence based approach to mental health symptoms and disorders in elite athletes, an International Olympic Committee Consensus Work Group critically evaluated the current state of science and provided recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-699
Number of pages33
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number11
Early online date16 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


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