The ISA has formed a Medical Commission ©ISA

The International Surfing Association (ISA) has established a Medical Commission as part of its efforts to protect the health and welfare of athletes amid the global health crisis.

According to the ISA, the Medical Commission has been formed "with the purpose of advising on athletes’ and personnel’s health, the promotion of health and physical activity, and the protection of clean athletes".

Its first key mission will be to assess the COVID-19 countermeasures set to be in place at the World Surfing Games at Surf City in El Salvador, due to run from May 29 to June 6.

The ISA said the Commission, chaired by American physician Lee Rice, had five main objectives it hopes to fulfill, including ensuring "excellent healthcare, medical services and doping control at ISA events to athletes and personnel".

"We are committed to the health and safety of our athletes, staff, and stakeholders, especially given the current global health crisis," said ISA President Fernando Aguerre.

"This Medical Commission is an important step in advancing our strategy in this regard."

American physician Lee Rice has been chosen to chair the ISA Medical Commission ©ISA
American physician Lee Rice has been chosen to chair the ISA Medical Commission ©ISA

Aguerre added: "The commission will be key in improving and fortifying our medical services, healthcare standards and doping controls at World Championships, as well as educating event organisers, athletes and personnel regarding best practices to stay safe and healthy.

"Mostly, we want to make the world a better place by promoting the health and physical activity of surfers, as well as the wider population. 

"Surfing is proven to be an integral contributor to happiness and healing, so we want to make sure that its therapeutic qualities can be accessed in an increasingly safe manner."

American professional lifeguard Chuck Davey, French national surfing team doctor Thierry Durantel, Portuguese physiotherapist Gonzalo Saldanha and Australian nurse Linda Hart are the other members of the Commission.

"As a surfer and a physician, I understand the exceptional therapeutic benefits of surfing for a healthy lifestyle and for the well-being of my patients," said Rice. 

"At the same time, it is essential to ensure the optimal medical services and latest healthcare trends for those competing in the sport. 

"I am thrilled and honoured with this opportunity to serve the ISA and wider surfing community and to bring together this amazing group of professionals for this purpose."