Impact of Sport Science Services & Quality Ratings
5.8Impact of Sport Medicine Services
Interviewees were asked to comment on whether the services rated as important in the survey findings also matched their own perspective, as well on any concerns with access to these services. Access to services, particularly to doctors, was the focus of comments provided by respondents. Most interview respondents identify advice or treatment from a sport physician as highly important, but note that their involvement with athletes is insufficient at present. One notes that “more team doctors are necessary; they need to be more involved”, Another states “doctors don’t have the same close relationship with athletes as therapists do – you see them only when there’s a problem”. Yet another comments “we can’t afford a full-time doctor so we have to use clinics. Obviously it would be better to have a full-time physician on the team”.
In terms of access to services generally, one respondent underscores again that decentralization affects access and that “athletes may not always have access to services where they train”. Access to services for developmental athletes and sports that are not “targeted” is also identified as a more significant issue or concern than access for those at a high level of performance.
Several interview respondents underscore the importance of having sport-science and/or sport-medicine specialists follow the athletes to ensure they benefit to the extent possible from these services. As one interview respondent states “specialists should follow the athletes. They should be with
them when they are away training or in competition to ensure prevention”. Another states “having this input from sports medicine and sports science enables athletes to train longer, get fewer injuries and recover faster. The point is to keep everyone healthy all of the time if possible so they can maximize their time”.
There were few specific comments on the importance of or access to massage, although one respondent felt that massage was over-rated in terms of importance by athletes.
In addition to the evidence of athletes and coaches regarding importance of the various sport science and sport medicine services, CSC Presidents and Service Managers were also asked about the level of demand that they see for these same services that they offer at their CSC’s. At the top of the list are massage and physiotherapy, according to nine in ten respondents. This is followed by eight in ten reporting a high demand for sport psychology services, and three in four indicating a high demand for strength and conditioning. Two in three say that there is a strong demand for physiological assessment and monitoring and six in ten said that athletic therapy sees a high demand. The lowest demand reported is for career planning services, podiatry and osteopathy. This is followed by employment assistance, biometrics, skill/technique analysis and chiropractic services.