Local sports administrators are faced with a challenge of upholding fairness and protecting the health of their players due to the difficulties they face to determine the right age categories of athletes. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the practices of how age estimation is performed in the sports fraternity in Uganda. The study was qualitative and it involved 19 participants who were purposively selected based on their position in sport administration. Data was collected using key informant interviews and analyzed using thematic content analysis. The findings revealed that age estimation in sports mainly relied on non-forensic methods such as documents, interviews and birth certificates. Forensic age estimation using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was found expensive to be widely used. The challenges associated with wrong age estimation ranged from conflicts, to stifled progression in talent development and potential injuries. The study recommends that a national database that registers people right from birth is put in place and that a standardized national method of age estimation using dental development patterns be relied upon to determine age of athletes especially in sports where age categorization is a requirement.
Key words: Age estimation, sports, non-forensic, dental development patterns.
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