The legacy of London 2012 – Finding a home for Sport and Exercise Medicine

Undergraduate perspective on Sports & Exercise Medicine – a BJSM blog series

By Jack Nash (@JackNash58)

Delivering a health legacy to get more people physically active was one of the London 2012 Olympic Games’ promises(1). £30 million was earmarked to build three centres and form the national sports medicine centre. A year later, work is well underway in the east midlands to ensure that this legacy translates into public health benefits and a hopefully bright future for SEM in the UK.

An artist’s impression of the finished east midlands centre Taken from: https://twitter.com/ncsemem/status/217904559631245312/photo/1
An artist’s impression of the finished east midlands centre
Taken from: https://twitter.com/ncsemem/status/217904559631245312/photo/1

Why the East Midlands?

A market town with a population of 56,000 would not be everyone’s choice for a national sports medicine centre site! However, it just so happens that this market town is Loughborough. Loughborough University is the leading UK University for sport, with a variety of elite and recreational athletes on campus every day. This coupled with the cutting-edge health and exercise research taking place make it the perfect site for one of the three centres – the others being London and Sheffield. Six university and hospital partners will be involved in running the east midlands centre – Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham, the University of Leicester, Nottingham University NHS Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and Nottingham Healthcare NHS Trust.

What will the centre provide?

£10 million will be invested to produce a state of the art building, which will provide a focal point for clinical, research and educational services on the Loughborough site. Uniting all of the expertise in the area under one roof will promote knowledge transfer amongst professionals and provide a home for the SEM speciality in the region. The East Midlands hub will focus on four key areas: ‘physical activity in disease prevention’, ‘exercise in chronic disease’, ‘sports injuries and musculoskeletal health’ and ‘mental health and well-being’. Importantly for budding SEM doctors, the new centre will have a role to play in SEM training. This is where we come in…

How will this centre benefit SEM trainees?

The East Midlands deanery currently provides 2 of the 12-16 ST3 training posts nationally for those looking to work in SEM. With the new centre, SEM training and educational opportunities are set to increase. Excitingly, an Academic SEM Clinical Fellowship has been confirmed when the centre opens in 2014. This base will enable the delivery of Continued Professional Development (CPD) resources in SEM which will raise professional standards and spread the message of exercise and health.

How will this centre benefit undergraduate students interested in SEM?

Liam West has highlighted the lack of undergraduate education on sport and exercise medicine – the new centre may have a role to play in increasing this. The Sport and Exercise Science BSc intercalated programme is going from strength to strength in Loughborough and this centre will allow undergraduate students to attend clinics and shadow physicians – an important determining step in the career choice of students. Matthew Gray’s blog shows the difficulty in finding mentors in SEM. The east Midlands centre will facilitate a large number of SEM professionals to meet under one roof, providing help and support to those looking for a career in SEM. Hopefully we are turning the corner for these problems…

Much like the building work in Loughborough, the career pathways and opportunities for the budding SEM doctor are ever increasing. The east midlands are a fitting site for this up and coming speciality. As a budding SEM doctor, it is exciting to see the potential opportunities that lie ahead as a result of the London 2012 health legacy.

What are your thoughts on these three national sport medicine centres? Is this money well spent? Are these set to be the best sites nationwide? I’m keen to hear everybody’s views.

References

1)    Tew G, Copeland R, & Till S. Sport and exercise medicine and the Olympic health legacy. BMC Medicine 2012; 10: 74.

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Jack Nash is a medical student who is intercalating in Sports and Exercise Science at Loughborough University and will be graduating from the University of Manchester in 2014. He placed 3rd in the Tom Donaldson prize at the BASEM Congress 2012.

Liam West BSc (Hons) is a final year medical undergraduate student at Cardiff University, Wales. He coordinates the “Undergraduate Perspective on Sports & Exercise Medicine” Blog Series for BJSM.

 

 

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