Data & Innovation, Performance, Summit Session | Jul 30, 2020

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In 2016, Craig Ranson became the EIS’ first Director of Athlete Health and signalled the organisation’s ever-growing focus on the mental as well as the physical aspects of performance.

In the middle session, Ranson spoke at length of the EIS Performance Data Management System and its role in developing, delivering and evaluating athlete health strategy for Great Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic teams across 40 sports.

Ranson began with the EIS’ mission statement: To pioneer the delivery of science, medicine and technology services to drive medal success at Olympic, Paralympic and international competition.

Key Takeaways

  • The EIS Performance Data Management System has created a mass of info stored in a relational database – it is important that the data is presented in a usable form – and it has enabled the organisation to harmonise data and practitioners are given ownership in order to keep data quality and compliance high.
  • Having filterable dashboards allows practitioners to do their own health surveillance and set priorities. The system enabled the organisation to demonstrate that upper respiratory illness posed the greatest physical threat and, particularly during winter, the EIS could be pre-emptive in its responses and the information it provided. This ultimately maximised and optimised athlete performance and availability.
  • Mental health support is more difficult but the EIS performed a cultural health check in 2017 that established mental wellbeing as a priority and it led to the creation of the organisation’s mental health strategy, the four pillars of which are:

1. Education – particularly mental wellness and psychological distress for athletes and coaches.

2. Direct provision – when the EIS could put numbers to particular problems it enabled a more targeted approach.

3. Communication – this is especially aimed at reducing the stigma around mental health.

4. Assurance – to check that our efforts have been effective and hitting the target.

  • The EIS has developed its mental health referral pathways and athletes have greater access to the expert help and support that they need.


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