POSTED: March 10th 2015

Retired Olympians receive support from WOA Medical Committee

The Rio 2016 World Olympians Reunion Centre / WOA
The Rio 2016 World Olympians Reunion Centre / WOA

MARISSA FLANDERS / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The World Olympians Association (WOA) Medical Committee has started to step up their commitment to support elite athletes and Olympians, who are now retired from competition by holding a meeting.  

Patrick Schamasch, immediate past International Olympic Committee (IOC) Medical Director, chairs the committee. The main goal of the committee is to collate, and commission research into, the issues of concern for retired athletes. This gives the committee the ability to produce guidelines of best practices, which would be sent to 
International Federations, elite athletes, Olympians, National Olympians Associations, and 
National Olympic Committees all over the globe. 

The Medical Committee will have the task of investigating, and exploring, numerous issues in six areas. These areas include: metabolism, neuro degenerative, musculo-skeletal, phycholical, caridological , and diet and well-being. To start, the Committee will focus their efforts on three key areas. 

First, they will focus on psychological factors, such as the effects of transitioning from competition to retirement, and the ongoing changes in lifestyle, and how one copes with post career fitness and health issues. Next is the cardiological factors, and how the effects of demanding training have in the long run. Lastly, they will look at the musculo-skeletal factors. The committee will look to learn what biological consequences can result from overusing and overloading specific muscle groups. 

In addition, there will be research done on the correlation between retirement and depression, delayed onset of sporting injuries, benefits of continuing to exercise after retiring from one's sporting career, life expectancy of retired athletes, and the quality of life. 

Other members of the Medical Committee include: Jonathan Snell, psychologist and expert in life transition issues; Barry O'Driscoll, concussion expert, and former IRB Medical Advisor; Richard Budgett, IOC Medical Director; Nebojsa Popovic, Acting Chief Medical Officer ASPETAR; and Fabio Pigozzi, President of the International Federation of Sports Medicine. 

"Very little work has been done on post career medical, health, fitness and wellbeing issues for retired athletes and the newly formed WOA Medical Committee aims to correct that by collating the work that has been done and commissioning new research. We want to be able to publish guidelines and best practices for retired Olympians and elite athletes, NOCs, NOAs and IFs - leading to a better understanding of the subject area for the benefit of retired athletes, but also to help those who are still competing to plan for a better life when they end their sporting careers," commented Patrick Schamasch, Chair of the WOA Medical Committee. 

Joel Bouzou, WOA President stated, "The WOA is committed to helping Olympians at all stages of their lives. In the past, post-career medical, health and well-being issues have not been studied in a systematic way and Olympians have had to work out for themselves how best to cope with these issues without the benefit of clear and easily accessible medical research and guidelines. We set up the WOA Medical Committee to correct that situation. The Committee's remit is very practical: to produce medical, health and well-being guidelines for retired Olympians to help them be in the best possible post-career mental and physical condition."

** MARISSA FLANDERS is a graduate of Saint Leo University with a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Business. She has over four years of writing experience and has a real passion for ice hockey following the Pittsburgh Penguins on her blog

Keywords · WOA · Olympians · IOC

For more information contact:
Laura Walden ()

All original materials contained in this section are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Sports Features Communications, Inc the owner of that content. It is prohibited to alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.