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Article

‘The Little Engine That Could’: A Qualitative Study of Medical Service Access and Effectiveness among Adolescent Athletics Athletes Competing at the Highest International Level

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Athletics Research Center, Linköping University, 58183 Linköping, Sweden
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Department of Health, Medicine and Caring Sciences, Linköping University, 58183 Linköping, Sweden
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Rehabilitation Medicine Research Group, Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, 22100 Lund, Sweden
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Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Moi University, Eldoret 30107, Kenya
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Department of Anthropology, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306, USA
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Health and Science Department, World Athletics, MC 98007 Monte-Carlo, Monaco
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Laboratoire Motricité Humaine, Expertise, Sport, Santé (LAMHESS), Université Côte d’Azur, CEDEX 03, 06205 Nice, France
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Luca Paolo Ardigo
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7278; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147278
Received: 15 May 2021 / Revised: 30 June 2021 / Accepted: 5 July 2021 / Published: 7 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Sport and Health)
Little is known about provision of medical services to adolescents prior to participating in international top-level sports. This study aimed to investigate experiences of medical service provision among high-level adolescent athletics (track and field) athletes from three continents. A thematic narrative analysis was applied to data collected from 14 athletes by semi-structured interviews. Although competing at the highest international level, these adolescent athletes had difficulties making sense of symptoms of ill health, especially on their own. With increasing exercise loads, the athletes’ medical support needs had extended beyond the capacity of parents and local communities. As there was no organized transfer of the responsibility for medical support to sports organizations, the athletes often had to manage their health problems by themselves. There were major variations among the adolescent athletes with regards to medical service access and quality. The services used ranged from sophisticated computer-assisted biomechanical analyses to traditional healers. Decreased exercise load was the common sports injury treatment. The results of this study demonstrate how the ethical standards underpinning youth sports as well as the equal provision of medical services to adolescents are challenged across the world. Further research on health service provision to adolescent top-level athletes is warranted. View Full-Text
Keywords: public health; adolescents; health systems; equity in health; athletics (track and field); qualitative research methods public health; adolescents; health systems; equity in health; athletics (track and field); qualitative research methods
MDPI and ACS Style

Timpka, T.; Fagher, K.; Bargoria, V.; Gauffin, H.; Andersson, C.; Jacobsson, J.; Nyce, J.; Bermon, S. ‘The Little Engine That Could’: A Qualitative Study of Medical Service Access and Effectiveness among Adolescent Athletics Athletes Competing at the Highest International Level. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 7278. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147278

AMA Style

Timpka T, Fagher K, Bargoria V, Gauffin H, Andersson C, Jacobsson J, Nyce J, Bermon S. ‘The Little Engine That Could’: A Qualitative Study of Medical Service Access and Effectiveness among Adolescent Athletics Athletes Competing at the Highest International Level. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(14):7278. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147278

Chicago/Turabian Style

Timpka, Toomas, Kristina Fagher, Victor Bargoria, Håkan Gauffin, Christer Andersson, Jenny Jacobsson, James Nyce, and Stéphane Bermon. 2021. "‘The Little Engine That Could’: A Qualitative Study of Medical Service Access and Effectiveness among Adolescent Athletics Athletes Competing at the Highest International Level" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 14: 7278. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147278

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