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The Rationalization of HealthCare in Modern Sport: From Policy to Practice

The Suffering Body in Sport

ISBN: 978-1-78756-069-7, eISBN: 978-1-78756-068-0

Publication date: 24 July 2019



This chapter draws upon the sociological concept of rationalization to explore the role and practice of sports medicine. It highlights attempts by the profession to create a rationalized model of health care for sports participants – particularly those involved in high-performance sports settings and the enabling and constraining elements of its enactment.


The chapter explains how changes in the organization of sports medicine have dovetailed with the increasing rationalization of sport which has been significant in enacting changes in sports medicine that are aligned with a more rationalized model of care.


Key findings from the literature highlight the difficulties of implementing rationalized health care policy into practice. Specifically, the chapter examines macro-organizational changes to the structure of sports medicine and the extent to which sports medicine represents a rationalized model of health care by virtue of micro-organizational constraints.


While the discussion draws upon a breadth of research by sociologists of sport who have examined sports medicine practices, the chapter draws heavily on the UK model of sports medicine care in high-performance sport and thus the conclusions may not be wholly transferable to non-UK and non-sports contexts.



Scott-Bell, A. (2019), "The Rationalization of HealthCare in Modern Sport: From Policy to Practice", The Suffering Body in Sport (Research in the Sociology of Sport, Vol. 12), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 23-38.



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