Sport Ireland Institute

Sport Ireland Institute has been set-up to create an environment which influences, supports and ensures that talented Irish athletes will achieve sustained levels of excellence in elite sport. Sport Ireland Institute coordinates a network of highly experienced, quality assured service providers to help support this high performance environment ensuring that sports have access to the sports science and medicine sports that they need.

Sport Ireland Institute works directly with NGBs in developing sports specific science and medical support networks so that each sport has the support it needs to impact on performance. Sport Ireland Institute also works closely with service providers in developing systems, structures and protocols to ensure that athletes and sports receive the best support possible.

Multi Discipline Teamwork

Performance Services comprise three core elements: Science, Medicine and Lifeskills, all focused on supporting athletes and coaches to perform at their potential. We deliver services in three main ways – from our headquarters at Abbotstown, though Sport Ireland Institute staff embedded in the high performance teams of various sports and through referral to specialist experts (i.e., surgical consultations, clinical psychology). We also overview the performance services plans of the sports that are funded through the Sport Ireland's high performance programme.

Our primary aim is to deliver world class integrated multidisciplinary services to support high performance coaches and athletes, for example a Medical Case Conference. Our experience is that the lynchpin in a successful programme is a coach or coaching team that combines a clear vision of where they want to get, a detailed route map of how they will get there and the support that they need to achieve their goals. We are fortunate to work with some great coaches who have this clarity of purpose and challenge us to deliver our support services in meaningful, effective and innovative ways. 

The Medical Case Conference Process - Casestudy

One of the key strategies in Performance Medicine is the establishment of multidisciplinary support teams that provide medicine and science support working proactively with the athletes performance support team. The significance of this is most clearly seen in the management of complex difficult injuries where difference experts need to work closely together and this is where we use a Medical Case Conference process.

In these situations the Institute medical team lead and manage a case conference whereby the athlete, coach, performance director and every service provider working on the case meet with a solution based focus, to clarify the problem and agree a management with practical outcomes.

The Sport Ireland Institute has led a number of cases with athletes who have had long-term injuries and illnesses. Not uncommonly this is the first time that all the service providers have spoken together, allowing each if them to get a better understanding of all the issues and this influence their input to the athlete’s management. For example, in assessing the case of an athlete with recurrent bone injuries over a number of years this process led to the realisation of the athlete that poor sleep pattern since a young age (never before mentioned to anyone) was a contributing factor to the recurrent injuries (bone adaptation after heavy exercise is helped by proper sleep). The management of this case then needed the input of a psychologist and athlete lifestyle manager to help with a very physical problem.

Complex or difficult cases require a team of experts working in close collaboration to accurately diagnose and treat the problem. The case conference process is one example of how the Institute is actively pursuing best practice in the care of our athletes.