IFSC STATEMENT: ATHLETES’ HEALTH AND THE IFSC MEDICAL COMMISSION
During the IFSC Executive Board meeting yesterday, 5 July 2023, the IFSC took note of the resignations submitted by the Medical & Antidoping Commission Chair, Eugen Burtscher (AUT) and member, Volker Schoeffl (GER) and thank them for their service to the sport and athletes’ health.
The Executive Board gave full support to the remaining members of the Medical Commission and to the IFSC Sport Department to deliver on approved IFSC Executive Board protocols.
Protecting athletes’ well-being is the primary goal of the IFSC, and therefore the implementation and enforcement of a robust set of rules for the health of the athletes and for the fairness of competition is paramount. This also includes implementing educational programmes and processes for our competitors, regardless of body shape and type.
The IFSC is aligned with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with regards to the health of athletes: as announced in January this year, from 2024 the IFSC will adopt a holistic approach not based solely on BMI parameters, which alone are not sufficient to determine critical health condition.
The IFSC maintains that athletes’ health is of primary importance and therefore the biopsychosocial conditions around athletes must be taken into account in order to prevent and treat the root causes of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S). In this context, the approach adopted until 2022 – based solely on BMI – does not answer the expectations of the IFSC in promoting a healthy sport. Furthermore, the Board has been informed of initiatives not in line with its approved protocols.
Early this year, transitory measures were also approved for the 2023 season, with the aim to involve National Federations monitoring their athletes (see link https://t.ly/z8JU).
However, differently from 2022, no screenings have been performed by the Medical Commission during the 2023 season, therefore the Board gave instructions that screening will be performed from this point on, under strict control of the IFSC.
The IFSC will also complete and confirm the plan for 2024 RED-S policy, fit and proper for the athlete’s health, following the timeline approved and announced early this year (https://www.ifsc-climbing.org/index.php/news/877-we-feel-the-mandate-to-protect-our-athletes-said-ifsc-president-following-executive-board-meeting).