The Importance of Event Medical Cover

The supervision of a sporting event or the follow-up of a sports team are the cornerstones of sports medicine. These activities require precise and professional preparation and organization. This article discusses the specific organization of the medical service of a sports competition, the criteria required to take this responsibility, the constitution of the medical team, the rules of ethics, the basic equipment and medicines necessary for the mission, Problems, communication and the relationship with the media. It should assist the practitioner who is involved in the supervision of a sporting event, a team or a federation.


The Event Medical Cover is a unique and challenging adventure that represents an important part of a sports physician’s activity. For example, in our HUG Orthopedics and Sports Trauma Unit, we receive between four and six requests per month for medical supervision from all parts of the sport. The medical coverage of a sporting event or a team is the essence of this field activity of sports medicine. It can expose you to all imaginable situations and even those you never dared to imagine. It is an activity that will bring you many anecdotes and stories that make the success of adventure novels and your commitment will often be confused with a field mission worthy of humanitarian missions or medical missions during conflict. Generally, you are outside of all medical facilities, with limited equipment, full and complete responsibility (whatever happens, you are the Doctor), significant pressure from athletes, their entourage, organizers, Physical environment (rain, cold, snow, dust, noise, etc.). You must act quickly and well regardless of the conditions. The world around you is an exacerbated world of intense competition where every detail, every second counts, where commitment is total and merciless,


This aspect of medical practice is not taught in our medical schools or in a classical training program leading to an FMH degree. There is a course (1 h 30) given as part of the training in French of the Swiss Society of Sports Medicine (SSMS-SGSM) and that’s it. As a result, those who engage in the medical supervision of a sporting event or a team must acquire a training either by companionship or by their own experiences obtained in the field. Literary references are also limited, but very useful to begin with. 1-12


Before accepting responsibility for medical coverage for a sporting event, sports team or sports federation, a physician must ensure that:

• Ability to do so (availability, training, interest, athletic level, etc.).

• That he has a valid right to practice.

• That he / she has the required diplomas. According to SSMS guidelines, all national and international events and any national or international team must be supervised by doctors for the Certificate of Fitness in Sports Medicine SSMS.

• That he possesses a liability insurance covering him for this specific sports medicine activity (especially if he has to deal with professional athletes).

• That he has the agreement of his employer (if the doctor is an employee) to deploy the activities envisaged in the medical supervision concerned

• That it is able to build a sufficiently large medical team with the appropriate skills and experience to perform the task.

• Knowing the sport involved, the physical demands of the athletes, the risk of injury, and the rules of the competition that they supervise.


How to organize the supervision of a sporting event? As in most organizations, everything is about preparation. The more you have prepared your preparation, the more you will be able to assume the imponderables of the world of sport. In the first place, it is a question of knowing the sport concerned, its regulation and its specification. Then, to know the intrinsic risks by reading epidemiological studies of the wounds. It is also important to know the background of the sport concerned to learn the anecdotes useful in determining the worst-case scenario. In this initial phase of preparation, the organizing committee must be contacted very quickly to determine the needs, expectations and framework of the medical service. Depending on these parameters, It is then important to define the team that will surround you and which will be very different depending on whether it is a volleyball tournament, a marathon or a motor sport competition (Tables 1 and 2 ). This team must have strong medical and technical skills, but must have a good experience of the sport concerned (especially in motor sports or outdoor sports). It is also important to know if the competition you are interested in is a one-off championship (e.g. European gymnastics championship) or the stage of a competition circuit that takes place from country to country (e.g. Athletics, motor sports). In this last case, It will be important to open a medical clinic as soon as the athletes arrive to provide the necessary care to those who are injured. It is also necessary to know if the participating teams travel with a team doctor (in this case, the latter will play the role of the attending physician and must be considered as such in all the exchanges).