Health and Elite Sport: Is High Performance Sport a Healthy Pursuit?

Front Cover
Joe Baker, Parissa Safai, Jessica Fraser-Thomas
Routledge, Sep 15, 2014 - Health & Fitness - 205 pages

Health and Elite Sport is the first book to critically examine the relationship between participation in high performance sport and health outcomes. Drawing on theory and empirical data from a wide range of disciplines, including sociology, philosophy, political science, developmental psychology, epidemiology, and physical education, the book explores the benefits and detriments of participation in elite sport for both individuals (athletes, coaches, spectators) and communities.

Written by a team of leading international sport researchers, the book examines key issues including:

  • Talent identification and young athletes
  • Abuse in sport
  • Positive youth development through sport
  • Athlete health in periods of transition
  • Health, sport and the family
  • Health in professional sport
  • The Olympics, Paralympics and public health
  • Long term effects of participation in elite sport

Highlighting the connections and contradictions between high performance sport and health, the book also discusses the clear and important implications for our socio-cultural, political and developmental understanding of sport. Health and Elite Sport is fascinating and important reading for all students and researchers with an interest in youth sport, sports development, sport policy, sports coaching, exercise and health, physical education, the sociology of sport, or the sociology of health.

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About the author (2014)

Joe Baker is an Associate Professor and head of the Lifespan Health and Performance Laboratory in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science, at York University, Canada. He has also held visiting researcher/professor positions in the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany. His research considers the varying influences on optimal human development, ranging from issues affecting athlete development and skill acquisition to barriers and facilitators of successful aging. Joe is author/editor of 6 other books including the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Sport Expertise (with Damian Farrow). He has authored more than 150 peer reviewed articles and book chapters

Parissa Safai is an Associate Professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science in the Faculty of Health at York University. Her research interests focus on the critical study of sport at the intersection of risk, health and healthcare. This includes research on sports' "culture of risk", the development and social organization of sport and exercise medicine, as well as the social determinants of athletes' health. Her work has been published in such journals as the Sociology of Sport Journal, the International Review for the Sociology of Sport, Sport History Review and the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin canadien
d'histoire de la médecine

Jessica Fraser-Thomas is an Assistant Professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science at York University in Toronto, Canada. Her research focuses on children and youths' development through sport, with a particular interest in positive youth development, psychosocial influences (i.e., coaches, family, peers), and withdrawal. Currently she is working on three key projects exploring children's earliest introductions to organized sport, the characteristics of sport programs that facilitate optimal youth development, and how youth sport models may inform Masters athletes' development; all projects are supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and Sport Canada's Research Initiative (SCRI). Jessica is a former elite level athlete; she now parents five young sport participants and occasionally competes in triathlons

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