Medical Committee Update

summarized by David DeWinter
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Dr. Kathryn E. Ackerman, MD, MPH, FACSMBoston Children’s Hospital

The 3-Sentence Summary

The USRowing Medical Committee includes a wide range of medical professionals who provide care for our national team members and determine policies for rowing events, including COVID-19 policies for USRowing events and lightweight policies which led to the introduction of U17 events at Youth Nationals in 2021. In 2022, we will see more U17 and U15 events at the regional and national level.



0:26 Medical Committee Intro Jan 2021

1:41 Introduction

  • Former national team lightweight rower
  • Recreational Masters Rower
  • Internist, Endocrinologist, Sports Med Doc
  • Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Med School
  • Director of Wu Tsai Female Athlete Program at Boston Children’s Hospital – Studying female athlete performance
  • Member of World Rowing Medical Commission
  • Co-Chair of USOPC Women’s Health Working Group
  • Various roles with IOC – courses, working groups
  • International Testing Agency (not World Rowing’s responsibility) – TUE reviewer
  • High Performance Selection Committee Member

Committee Roles and Responsibilities

7:49 Committee Responsibilities

  • Local medical care
  • Consult for docs and athletes who are not local
  • Cover events for the national teams
  • Policies (e.g. COVID) and Protocols
  • Athlete Screening (EKGs)
  • TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption) Reviews
  • Research
  • Lectures/education

13:06 Committee drove COVID protocols for both USRowing regattas and World Rowing events.

15:28 Updated lightweight protocol in 2020 to remove all youth lightweight events at regional and national regattas. Nearly 75% of lightweight participants fell into the U17 age category, so several U17 events were introduced at Youth Nationals. In 2022, there will be more U17 and U15 opportunities in national and regional regattas.

17:48 In September, IOC came out with guidelines on transgender/DSD (difference in sexual development) inclusion, in which they delegated to each sport to figure out how to do this best. We need to be inclusive, respectful, fair, and safe, but we don’t have data.

21:34 World Rowing requirements: testosterone level needs to be under 5 nmol/dL for at least a year to compete in the women’s category.

Events and Medical Care

23:21 Team Coverage: Olympics, U23s, Juniors, Beach Sprints.

25:24 We created a survey for all National Team athletes and staff to give us feedback on medical committee care at their events.

Committee Growth

26:11 Medical committee updates: we added 5 new members.

29:28 The USRowing Medical Network extends beyond just our committee to PTs, RDs, Sports Psych, Strength and Conditioning, Cardiology, Health and Performance Monitoring, and Exercise Physiology.

33:10 Future:

  • Writing Committee By-Laws and Charter
  • Better Representation (athlete reps, specialists, more diversity)
  • Protocols and info for USRowing Members
  • Connection with USOPC
  • Assistance with Sport Science
  • Research Devoted to Rowing
  • Athlete Communication and Accessibility

38:24 Contact info

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