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ACSM In The News

ACSM is fortunate to be the go-to source on sports medicine and exercise science for several national and international media outlets. You can find some of our most recent coverage below, or you can view archived articles.  

New Consensus Statement Focuses on Older Athletes

by User Not Found | Aug 01, 2011
Experts give guidance on unique cardiovascular, strength considerations

INDIANAPOLIS – Team physicians representing some of the nation's largest sports medicine organizations have developed guidelines for "master athletes" – active individuals over 50 years of age.

The recently released consensus statement, "Selected Issues for the Master Athlete and the Team Physician," is designed to give medical professionals heightened knowledge when treating this unique group of exercisers. The guidelines are published in the official scientific journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

"Master athletes expect more of themselves than just casual exercise," said Stanley Herring, M.D., FACSM, facilitator of the consensus statement series and one of ACSM's representatives on the expert panel. "They want to stay competitive and perform at an optimal level – but their changing physiological makeup may require a bit more customized treatment from their physician. Our consensus statement helps physicians make the wisest medical decisions for these athletes."

Among its recommendations, the expert panel says it is essential that physicians treating master athletes understand:

  • The symptoms of injuries such as Achilles tendonitis, lumbar spinal stenosis, rotator cuff tears, elbow injuries, and osteoarthritis in the hip, knee and shoulder.
  • There is an age-related decline in muscle mass and strength for older athletes, but resistance training modifies these declines and should be recommended.
  • The most common cause for sudden death in master athletes is a heart attack. Personal or family history of cardiac issues may warrant ECG testing. Athletes with more than 50 percent artery blockage should be restricted from high-intensity activity.
  • Automatic external defibrillators should be available at all sanctioned masters athlete sporting events, along with personnel trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • A pre-participation physical examination should be performed to clear master athletes for participation or identify the need for further evaluation or referral.

In addition to ACSM, five delegate organizations contributed to the consensus statement: the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, and the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine. The master athlete paper is the 11th consensus statement in the Team Physician series.

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The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national, and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

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