HealthAccord spotlights mental health and female athlete well-being

Supporting elite athlete mental health and maximising female athlete well-being to improve performance will be the focus at HealthAccord, one of the four specialist streams at this year’s SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit.

Sport’s most influential industry gathering will take place from 7 to 11 April in Birmingham -West Midlands and bring together around 1,500 leaders and key decision makers from over 120 International Federations (IFs), the International Olympic Committee, organisations involved in the business of sport, politics and the academic world.

Prof Dr Margo Mountjoy, a renowned sports medicine physician and member of the IOC Medical Commission Games Group, will kick off HealthAccord in the afternoon of 8 April.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a bright light on the importance of protecting and promoting athlete health to maximise sport performance,” said Mountjoy.

HealthAccord is specifically designed to provide factual and practical information for sport administrators, business people, political leaders and anyone who cares about athlete health and well-being. I am expecting great excitement and lively discussion for the timely, relevant and interesting health-related topics.

The HealthAccord sessions will feature medical and academic experts, as well as IF representatives, who will share best practice from across the global sports landscape.

Elite athlete mental health

Finding ways to protect and improve mental health – which has been thrown into the media spotlight thanks to important testimonies from high profile athletes including Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka – will be addressed by Dr Will Wynter-Bee from the European Tour Golf Group, and during a subsequent round table discussion at HealthAccord.

By positively addressing mental health, several sports now have seen a direct performance uptick, as well as the opportunity to increase longevity in sport.

Dr Stuart Miller, Senior Executive Director for Integrity & Legal at the International Tennis Federation (ITF), will share insights on how the environment of professional tennis places stresses on the players, and how his federation is seeking solutions to support the players in tackling these issues.

Tennis brought together key stakeholders at their first ever Mental Health Summit in 2022, which produced 21 foundational principles to address mental health, for implementation across the sport. Concrete examples include a project that aims to reduce the prevalence of social media abuse.

Female athletes – true picture of health

With much remaining unknown about female athlete health in comparison with the scientific knowledge base for male athletes, the second focus at HealthAccord responds to the increasing prominence and notoriety of women’s sport, against the backdrop of driving parity in Olympic Games and major successful events for female athletes including the FIFA Women’s World Cup™.

Prof Evert Verhagen, Medical Research Adviser at UEFA and Professor at UMC University in Amsterdam, will be one of the expert speakers on the topic of enhancing sport performance through health in female athletes. Focusing on specific challenges for female athletes, such as ACL injuries in football, he will explain how UEFA is supporting the health of female football players.

Amongst others, Prof Verhagen will be joined by Annamarie Phelps CBE, Olympian, Vice Chair of the British Olympic Association and member of the European Olympic Committee Executive Committee.

Reproductive health will be another focus at HealthAccord, with a roundtable discussion featuring experts including Kirsty Elliot-Sale, Professor of Female Endocrinology and Exercise at the University of Manchester, who has more than 20 years of experience in working with elite female athletes, comprising expertise on the design and implementation of exercise-based interventions.


The delegate pass for World Sport & Business Summit 2024 at the favourable rate of CHF 2,000 is still available during February, increasing to CHF 2,500 from 1 March. Click here to register now.