Objectives The purpose of this study was to explore the leadership experiences of elite football team physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods A pilot-study based on a cross-sectional design by means of an electronic survey was conducted. The survey relied on 25 questions divided into distinct sections including among others professional and academic experience, leadership experiences and perspectives.
Results A total of 57 physicians (91% male; mean age: 43 years) gave their electronic informed consent and completed the survey. All participants agreed that the demands of their role had increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fifty-two (92%) participants reported that they felt they were expected to take more of a leadership role during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eighteen (35%) reported feeling under pressure to make clinical decisions which were not in keeping with best clinical practice. Additional roles, duties and demands expected of team doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic were subdivided into communication, decision-making, logistical, and public health demands.
Conclusion The findings from this pilot study suggest that the way in which team physicians at professional football clubs operate has altered since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with greater demands placed on leadership skills including decision-making, communication and ethical stewardship. This has potential implications for sporting organisations, clinical practice and research.
- clinical leadership
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Contributors SC, GB and MD developed the survey used to collect the data for this research project. SC drafted the original manuscript, all coauthors reviewed the final manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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