Knowledge, perception and utilisation of chiropractic by National Olympic Committees
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Introduction: National Olympic Committees (NOCs) select medical personnel to support their athletes at the Olympic Games. To best support athletes the knowledge, perception and utilisation of all medical professions is assumed to be high, however literature seems to indicate that this is not so. Objective: To determine the knowledge, perception and utilisation of Chiropractic by NOCs in order to develop a better relationship so that more athletes can benefit from Chiropractic care. Methods: A questionnaire was emailed to the 205 NOCs worldwide. Respective executive committee and medical commission members were asked to complete the questionnaires. Results: 76 NOCs responded (37%), returning 27 questionnaires. 30% of the respondents were high ranking members. 93% were highly educated with a bachelor’s degree or higher and 33% had represented their country as an athlete. Both committees agreed on the importance of a post-graduate sports qualification and perceived the profession to be one of spinal care specialists. Overall knowledge of Chiropractic was poor. A trend was observed among the medical commissions in their choice of Medical Doctors or Physiotherapists over Chiropractors and other professionals. The executive committees in contrast seemed more open-minded in their choice of professionals. No association was found between the knowledge and perception of Chiropractic and use of Chiropractic Conclusion: There is confusion regarding the role and scope of practice of Chiropractic by NOCs. In order to achieve a greater level of acceptance and utilisation of Chiropractic in international sports medical teams the profession needs to clarify their role, better educate NOC members on the benefits of Chiropractic, and obtain sports specific post-graduate programmes that are recognised internationally.