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Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine Position Statement: Athletes at High Altitude

Koehle, Michael S. MD, PhD*,§; Cheng, Ivy MD†,‡; Sporer, Benjamin PhD§,¶

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: March 2014 - Volume 24 - Issue 2 - p 120–127
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000024
Position Statement
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Abstract: Many sports incorporate training at altitude as a key component of their athlete training plan. Furthermore, many sports are required to compete at high altitude venues. Exercise at high altitude provides unique challenges to the athlete and to the sport medicine clinician working with these athletes. These challenges include altitude illness, alterations in training intensity and performance, nutritional and hydration difficulties, and challenges related to the austerity of the environment. Furthermore, many of the strategies that are typically utilized by visitors to altitude may have implications from an anti-doping point of view.

This position statement was commissioned and approved by the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine. The purpose of this statement was to provide an evidence-based, best practices summary to assist clinicians with the preparation and management of athletes and individuals travelling to altitude for both competition and training.

*School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada;

Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada;

SHSC Emergency Department, Toronto, Ontario, Canada;

§Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; and

Canadian Sport Institute Pacific—Vancouver Campus, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Corresponding Author: Michael S. Koehle, MD, PhD, Allan McGavin Sport Medicine Centre, School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, Canada (

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received June 04, 2013

Accepted September 10, 2013

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