The 26th Workshop

25. October 2017
Theme: Prevention of Falls in the World of Sports: Protecting and Nurturing the Spirit of Fair Play and Coexistence

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games approaching, there are growing expectations in Japan on the value of sports. In particular, sports have an important role in forming a healthy, vigorous society, which is also closely linked with the issue of ageing and declining birth rate that Japan is grappling with.

A fall is one of the causes of elderly persons becoming bedridden, giving rise to a need for nursing care, and falling eventually to their death. Preventing fractures from a fall helps to support a super-ageing society, and sports and exercise are key to the prevention of such fractures.

The value of sports in promoting national health and bringing greater optimism in society is well recognized. On the other hand, it is also unfortunately true that the world of sports has been plagued by scandals, unlawful acts, and compliance issues.

The origins of sports can be found in "play." Children experience sports in the form of play. In today's society, however, the meaning of play in sports is diminishing, whereas that of "competition" is becoming more predominant. This change in emphasis has resulted in the "win-at-all-cost" mentality in sports and in creating distortions in a variety of fields. Some of the more notable examples of these distortions in sports are doping, accidents from undesirable training methods, and corporal punishment in extracurricular sports activities. In particular, the prevailing trend in forcing growing children to endure pain and in measuring outcome based on the volume of training should be amended.

In sports, as in medicine, it is important to control for quality and quantity. Education is needed so that teachers as well as children can understand this. Physical and health education that teaches the correct principles of the human body should be included in basic education not only for athletes competing on the international stage, but also for the general public.