In 2019, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) published a consensus statement outlining the principles for recording and reporting injury and illness in elite sport. The authors encouraged sport federations to adapt the framework to their sport-specific context. Since this publication, several sports have published extensions to the IOC consensus statement.
In response to a paucity of epidemiological data on athlete mental health, the IOC mental health working group adapted the IOC consensus statement on injury and illness surveillance to improve the capturing of athlete mental health data. In addition to the members of the working group, other experts and athlete representatives joined the project team to address gaps in expertise, and to add stakeholder perspective, respectively. Following an in-person meeting, the authors worked remotely, applying the scientific literature on athlete mental health to the IOC injury and illness surveillance framework. A virtual meeting was held to reach consensus on final recommendations.
Practical outcomes based on the analysis of the scientific literature are provided with respect to surveillance design, data collection and storage, data analysis and reporting of athlete mental health data. Mental health-specific report forms for athlete and health professional utilisation are included for both longitudinal and event-specific surveillance.
Ultimately, this publication should encourage the standardisation of surveillance methodology for mental health symptoms and disorders among athletes, which will improve consistency in study designs, thus facilitating the pooling of data and comparison across studies. The goal is to encourage systematic surveillance of athlete mental health.