IPC MEDICAL CODE
The preamble of the IPC Medical Code details the responsibility of the Paralympic Movement to ensure athlete health in sport participation:
“The Paralympic Movement, to accomplish its mission, encourages all stakeholders to take measures to ensure that sport is practiced in a manner that protects the health of the athlete and respects fair play and sports ethics. To that end, it encourages those measures necessary to protect the health of participants and to minimize the risks of physical injury, illness, and psychological harm. It also encourages measures that will protect athletes in their relationships with health care professionals. ”
(IPC Medical Code, Preamble, article 1).
The IPC Medical Code provides a framework to all stakeholders in the Paralympic Movement on the following aspects of athlete health and wellbeing:
- Relationships between athletes and health care professionals
- Right to access appropriate care and treatment, and medical support
- Protecting and promotion of athlete’s health during training and competition
- Fitness to practice a sport
- Consent to medical intervention and right of information, confidentiality and privacy rights
The IPC Governing Board has mandated the IPC Medical Committee to “advise the IPC Governing Board on all policy matters related to the medical care of Paralympic athletes.”
The IPC Medical Committee is addressing the following priorities for the 2014-2018 period:
- TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption) Management
- Development of protocols for medical care at major events
- Development of guidelines for periodic health evaluation for athletes and Officials
- Optimise health and wellbeing policies
- Advance Safe Sport agenda
- Dissemination of knowledge
- Advance athlete health and wellbeing research
The contact person for medical matters in the Paralympic Movement is the IPC Medical Manager, Ms. Judith van der Veen.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
The IPC Medical Committee works in close collaboration with different external partners on the development of medical information sheets that address unique characteristics of Para athlete health and wellbeing.
Autonomic Dysreflexia and Boosting
Persons with cervical or high thoracic spinal injuries can suffer from an abnormal sympathetic reflex called Autonomic Dysreflexia. This reflex is caused by painful stimuli to the lower part of the body, particularly distension or irritation of the urinary bladder.
The symptoms of dysreflexia are a rapid rise in blood pressure, headache, sweating, skin blotchiness and gooseflesh. In serious cases, confusion, cerebral haemorrhage and even death can occur.
This reflex may happen spontaneously or may be deliberately caused (“Boosting”). As this is a health hazard, the IPC forbids athletes to compete in a hazardous dysreflexic state.
Details are outlined in the Position Statement on Autonomic Dysreflexia and Boosting.