IOC Sports Medicine Course for doctors with a love for sports

In early May, 23 doctors from 17 countries visited Amsterdam to sit the exam for the IOC Sports Medicine Course. They had studied online and learned about the principles of sports medicine for two years. Now it was time for three days of live learning about daily sports medical practice in the Amsterdam UMC, where the final exam was taken.

The course was founded in 2015, at the initiative of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The reason was the difference in expertise that the medical committee of the IOC noted among the doctors at the Olympic Games. A consequence of the fact that not everyone has good access to sports medicine education and training. To improve this, the 11 IOC-accredited research centers in the world, including Amsterdam UMC, were asked to provide e-learnings for an online sports medicine course.

Reflection of daily practice
After completing the online course, students can take the exam in Amsterdam, Oslo, Pretoria or Seoul. The research centers in these cities make their own course content in the buildup to the exam. The idea is to have three more days of education before the exam takes place. In Amsterdam UMC, the specific emphasis is on medical care for athletes. The course participants become acquainted with sports medicine and the adjacent specialties of sports orthopedics, sports radiology and sports cardiology. In addition, medical care after a concussion and mental health and illness are discussed. Sports doctor Hans Tol: “This is a reflection of our daily practice and of where our research focusses on. The great thing is that through this course we can share all our knowledge with everyone in the world.”

The feedback from the students was very positive. But those who taught  the course for three days were also brimming with energy at the end. Orthopedic surgeon Gino Kerkhoffs: “The education was very interactive. Discussions took place between, and with the doctors based on real case studies. Very different topics, which are also relevant in elite sports, were highlighted. This ranged from child psychiatry and cardiology to working together in a team with radiology, orthopedics and sports medicine and coaching at the Olympic Games in a team around the athlete. You realize once again how well we have organized sports medical care here in the Netherlands and in Amsterdam UMC. And that that is very educational for other people.”

Advanced course
Over the years, 511 doctors from 77 countries have successfully completed the basic course. For those looking for further depth, there is also an advanced course. This takes place every year in a different part of the world. Hans Tol: “We will see some of the doctors who have now obtained their IOC diploma in Colombia in the autumn.”