A study to determine the international federations' perception and utilization of chiropractors and other sports medical personnel
Cloete, Kirsten Leigh
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Objectives: To investigate the International Sports Federations’ (IFS) perception and utilization of chiropractors and other sports medical personnel, and to compare results between the executive committees and medical commissions within federations. Methods: A specially designed, quantitative questionnaire was used to collect data from the 65 federations belonging to the General Assembly of International Federations of Sport (GAIFS). The questionnaire distribution took place via e-mail, with the secretary of each federation being requested to forward a copy of the questionnaire to a member of the federation’s executive committee and medical commission respectively. Follow-up telephone calls were also made to further encourage a response from participants. After an 8-week period, returned questionnaires were collected and data was analyzed. Results: From the results obtained (30% response rate), it would seem that perceptions vary greatly. This is most evident when one compares the perceptions of the medical commission members to those of the executive committee members. The medical commission on a whole, appears to favour the more traditional medical professions, while the executive committee seems to be more holistic in their approach to treatment options. In terms of current utilization, chiropractors are currently represented on 16% of medical teams, although chiropractors are able, within their scope of practice, to provide 70% of the federations’ most requested techniques / modalities for competitions. There appears to be little / no criteria governing the selection of medical personnel, however most of the federations agreed that a chiropractor with a post-graduate diploma in sports injuries, would be seen in a more favourable light for selection. Conclusions: The perceptions and utilization of chiropractors and other sports medical personnel varies greatly between federations, which may be due to a number of factors related to the formulation of perception itself. In addition, there appears to be a discrepancy between the opinions of the executive committees and medical commission of the participating federations.