Fundamental Ethical Principles in Sports Medicine

Clin Sports Med. 2016 Apr;35(2):195-204. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2015.10.004. Epub 2015 Nov 18.


In sports medicine, the practice of ethics presents many unique challenges because of the unusual clinical environment of caring for players within the context of a team whose primary goal is to win. Ethical issues frequently arise because a doctor-patient-team triad often replaces the traditional doctor-patient relationship. Conflict may exist when the team's priority clashes with or even replaces the doctor's obligation to player well-being. Customary ethical norms that govern most forms of clinical practice, such as autonomy and confidentiality, are not easily translated to sports medicine. Ethical principles and examples of how they relate to sports medicine are discussed.

Keywords: Autonomy; Deontology; Ethics; Sports medicine; Utilitarianism; Virtuous practice.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Confidentiality / ethics
  • History, 21st Century
  • History, Ancient
  • Humans
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Physician's Role
  • Physician-Patient Relations / ethics*
  • Sports Medicine / ethics*
  • Sports Medicine / history