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Ethical issues concerning New Zealand sports doctors
  1. L C Anderson,
  2. D F Gerrard
  1. Bioethics Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to:
 Ms L C Anderson
 Bioethics Center, University of Otago, PO Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand;


Success in sport can provide a source of national pride for a society, and vast financial and personal rewards for an individual athlete. It is therefore not surprising that many athletes will go to great lengths in pursuit of success. The provision of healthcare for elite sports people has the potential to create many ethical issues for sports doctors; however there has been little discussion of them to date. This study highlights these issues. Respondents to a questionnaire identified many ethical matters, common to other areas of medicine. However they also raised problems unique to sports medicine. Some of these ethical difficulties arise out of the place of the sports doctor within the hierarchy of sport. Yet others arise out of the special relationship between sports doctors and individual players/athletes. This study raises some important questions regarding the governance of healthcare in sport, and what support and guidance is available to sports doctors. As medical and scientific intervention in sport escalates, there is a risk that demands for enhanced performance may compromise the health of the athlete, and the role the sports doctor plays remains a critical question.

  • New Zealand
  • sports medicine

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  • i A similar questionnaire was given to the sports physiotherapists present at the two meetings, however this paper will only report on the questionnaire designed for sports doctors.

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