Call for Papers | “Managing Sport for Health” | Special Issue of Sport Management Review | Ends 2017-09-15

Guest editors:


Sport has been historically positioned as a mechanism for health promotion. With increased societal focus on physical activity promotion as a way to reduce global obesity rates, sport participation has become nearly universally encouraged. Additionally, sport participation has been linked with increased social connectedness, reduced engagement in risk behaviours, and better mental health outcomes. Based on these connections, sport has become a popular policy tool for social outreach, intervention, and prevention for all, but especially among populations considered “at risk” for poor physical, mental, and social health outcomes. Despite the idealistic view of sport’s health benefits often espoused by sport governing bodies and policy makers, the evidence to support sport’s efficacy to deliver universally positive health outcomes has been inconsistent. Both supporters and critics of sport as a health promotion tool have been limited in their definitions of sport and failing to examine the contexts within which sport is managed, governed, and marketed. The ability for sport to promote health is largely dependent on the community, social, and organisational setting. Exploring how sports are managed and governed related to health outcomes may help develop a more complete understanding of how sport may contribute to health outcomes or what barriers prevent sport from promoting health benefits.

The proposed special issue focuses on managing, marketing, and governing sport for health. In this sense, this special issue is interested in the management and governance contexts that promote or inhibit sport’s efficacy to promote health as opposed to evaluations of the impact of sport programs, activities, or events on individual or community health outcomes. We specifically encourage scholars to examine sport management theory, policy, and practice critically to understand what management, marketing, and governance practices prevent sport from promoting health (and might be modifiable), as well as those best practices that may promote positive health outcomes.

For the purposes of this special issue, we suggest using the World Health Organization’s (1946) definition of health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well‐being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Comparisons of organisational settings (e.g., recreation centre, school, sport club) and program type (e.g., competitive vs. non‐competitive) and sport type on health goals and outcomes;
  • Managing sport to promote health among under‐served populations;
  • Role of organisational culture in promoting healthy or unhealthy behaviours in sport programs;
  • Implementation of sport programs to promote health in communities;
  • Organisational learning and adoption of best practices for health promotion;
  • How national governing body sport policy shapes attitudes and practices to promote health through sport at grassroots levels;
  • Stakeholder engagement and perspectives related to health goals of sport;
  • Corporate social responsibility as a framework to develop healthy sport programs and practices;
  • How organisational capacity facilitates or inhibits promotion of health goals in sport;
  • Intersection among sport and other community organisations to promote health;
  • Communicating health information through sport programs and organisations;
  • The role of coach certification in health promotion in sport;
  • Disparities in access to health promoting sport;
  • Managing sport to provide healthier environmental conditions (e.g., green sport initiatives);
  • New product development targeting sport for health; and
  • Partnerships in sport for health, among others.

The list is indicative, and the editors welcome contact from authors who would like to discuss ideas for papers. The focus of the special issue will be conceptual and empirical research with a strong contextual, theoretical or methodological basis that advances knowledge. Studies using quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods approaches are welcomed.

Deadline for submissions

Submissions are due on or before 15 September, 2017 via the SMR online submission system at To ensure that all manuscripts are correctly identified for review in relation to the special issue it is important the authors select ‘SI: Sport for Health’ when they reach the ‘Article Type’ step in the submission process. Publication of the special issue will be February, 2019.

All manuscript submissions must adhere to the SMR ‘Guide for Authors’ available at

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