Bioethical debate regarding gyms’ need for medical certificates for amateur sportsmen


  • Dario Palhares Universidade de Brasília
  • Flávia Squinca Universidade de Brasília
  • Antônio Carlos Rodrigues Universidade de Brasília


Sports Medicine comprises two branches: one, related to professional athletes and the other, related to the general population vis a vis sports and physical activity. The bioethical conflicts involving professional athletes are different from those of amateur practitioners. There is a constant deliberation related to the requirement of medical evaluation before admission to a gym. There are regional laws that make the medical certificate an obligatory document. It is observed that in the creation of these laws, the arguments are guided by a way to transfer responsibility from the gym to the physician who has attended the client. In a sense, the laws that indiscriminately require medical certificates subvert the ethics of the medical practice because the medical officer is not capable to assure that a given patient has no medical issue; instead the medical work is to try to identify the cause to a complaint. The gyms provide clients with orientation and supervision by providing them with qualified professionals. Although the need for medical certificates for everybody is unethical, a detailed medical evaluation is needed for gym clients who may present clinical manifestations during exercise or have some specific clinical conditions.


sports medicine, ethics, medical certificate