"It's sort of help yourself" - DIY Medical Care and Team-Doctoring in Amateur Women's Sport

Debi Forbes, Reem Alhashmi, Ali Bowes, Katie Liston, Christopher Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)


It has become something of a truism, that within various athletic subcultures pain and injury are regularly normalised as ‘part of the game’. One clear consequence which flows from this empirical reality is that athletes often need medical care in various forms. Recent developments in the gendered structuring of sport means that sportswomen are increasingly centred within this process. Yet, there is a broad consensus from sportswomen and academics alike that access to medical support and the availability of associated resources in women's sport is inadequate. Based on interviews with 17 women located in the United Kingdom, we cast new light on how medical support and care appears to be structured across various women's amateur sports. Two key findings are highlighted, firstly, that the majority of medical support was via first aid kits, which is problematic in their inconsistent restocking, and the availability of someone trained to use them. And, secondly, that there was a DIY approach to medical care which we explore via a discussion of athlete-to-athlete ‘team-doctoring’ – wherein sportswomen provided medical advice, care and treatments to each other. Our analysis of these two findings shows how medical care might be inconsistent, compromised and otherwise poor in quality, especially when viewed through the lens of critical scholarship about the sociology of sports medicine. This has specific consequences for the sports women we spoke with, and wider implications for our understanding of amateur sportspeople generally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Early online date13 May 2024
Publication statusPublished online - 13 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • women's sport
  • pain and injury
  • team-doctoring
  • DIY
  • medical support
  • medicalisation
  • Women's sport
  • amateur sport


Dive into the research topics of '"It's sort of help yourself" - DIY Medical Care and Team-Doctoring in Amateur Women's Sport'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this