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light-hearted (for some)

Congrats to the winners of the BJSM cover competition

27 May, 13 | by Karim Khan

untitledWe are happy to announce 3 different winners today.

First off, for the second year in a row the issue associated with the South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA) (with guest Editors Jon Patricios and Wayne Viljoen) was victorious. Coincidence (or maybe it was the cute giraffe)? By coincidence, the current issue of BJSM celebrates SASMA again – and their conference in October 2013.

Secondly, the contest winners of either

1. The IOC Manual of Sports Injuries: An Illustrated Guide to the Management of Injuries in Physical Activity, Edited by Roald Bahr.


2.Brukner and Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine, 4th Edition, 2012.


1. Xabat Casado

Xabat has been a physical therapist since 2005 and currently works in private practice in San Sebastian, Spain. He is passionate about the science and practice of manual therapy and looks forward to reading his new book to access updated information on sports medicine. When asked what about his favourite thing on the BJSM blog, he stated: ” The quality of the information published. Without a doubt, a reference blog.”

2. Loryn Turnock

Loryn recently graduated in Sports Therapy at the University of Hertfordshire. She aspires to work with a sporting team and also gain clinical experience (in Australia where she wants to live out her dreams). She is excited to have won either book as she views them as key resources for her career. Her favorite thing about the BJSM blog is that it keeps her up to date on current literature.

Seems like these book prizes will be put to good use.

Thanks to everybody who participated!

Cape Town Medical 10, running race for health professionals

25 Mar, 13 | by Karim Khan

Hennie Muller and grandson

Letter to the Editor

The 35th staging of the Medical 10 will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, in November 2013. It is a 10 kilometre running race for health professionals. The race started in 1978 after a physician, Hennie Muller (shown in the photo with his grandson), discovered that the doctors in Finland held a 10 kilometer race to show that they practiced what the preached about a healthy lifestyle. The aim was to run it in 40 minutes but allowed a handicap of a minute for each year of age over 40.

Race organizers cut the handicap to half a minute and made it open to all health professionals and walkers, however, the event continues to be held annually at the end of November.

Is this race still held in Finland? Or are similar events held in any other country? I am interested to know.

Please contact me at:

Yours sincerely,

Sydney Cullis (Race Director)

BJSM cover competition – round 2 (Vote now!)

21 Dec, 12 | by Karim Khan

The winner of round 1!

Thanks to everyone who voted in round 1 of our second annual BJSM cover competition. Perhaps due to flexibility envy, BJSM’s issue #2 (ECOSEP special issue) goes through to the final.

See the four awesome covers in this second round. To recap: You (and your friends) vote below for your favourite cover. One click and you would make Abe Lincoln proud. The winner of the remaining preliminary rounds joins the Hamstring Issue in the final.

We will have prizes (a draw from those who vote) in the final. Right now, vote for your favourite cover from April – June 2012. (There were 16 issues of BJSM in 2012 – because of our links with the IOC and their 4 issues dedicated to Injury Prevention and Health Promotion – see the Olympic Rings on those issue covers, e.g, Cover 7, below). If you want to vote along ‘party lines’ remember that issue 5 and 8 were guided by the AMSSM (US) and SASMA (South Africa) respectively. BJSM has 12 actively engaged member societies.

Cover 5

Cover 5

Cover 6

Cover 6













Cover 7

Cover 7


Cover 8

Vote now! 2102 BJSM cover competition

12 Dec, 12 | by Karim Khan

‘Tis the season to vote for your favourite BJSM cover….

At BJSM we value the artistic merit of our covers, and the opinions of our readers. Here is the second annual BJSM cover competition. You (and your friends) will have five rounds of opportunity to vote for your favourite cover. The winner of each preliminary round will move to the final, sudden death round.

In last year’s exciting final round, Superbowl, Grand Final, and Champion of Champions League Cup, South Africa (South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA)) Congress issue (June 2011) defeated the UK (BASEM’s Sport and Exercise Medicine Conference issue) (July 2011)). A good reminder to rally your networks!

We will have prizes in the final round, but more on that in a few weeks! For now, vote for your favourite cover from January – March 2012. (Remember that there are 16 issues a year of BJSM – because of our links with the IOC and their 4 issues dedicated to Injury Prevention and Health Promotion – see the Olympic Rings on those issue covers).

Cover 1

Cover 2


Cover 3

Cover 4


Extreme Physical Activity Promotion: Doc Murray to run 7 Ultra Marathons on all 7 continents within 7 days

19 Nov, 12 | by Karim Khan

In the spirit of extreme physical activity promotion, Doc Andrew Murray is off today (weather permitting in Antarctica) to run 7 Ultra Marathons on all 7 continents within 7 days. He’s doing this to raise awareness of the benefits of exercise (he now works on this issue for the Scottish Government) and also for The Scottish Association for Mental Health.

His route is here

He massively appreciates the support he’s had for his previous challenges. If you and/or people you know are interested in supporting Andrew, you have the opportunity to do this in two ways:

1) BE PART OF IT with Andrew and a few well known faces. Visit www.5× <http://www.5×>  for full information and to join the challenge . By running, walking, cycling 5k a day for the 7 days from 23rd to 29th November we aim to cover the equivalent distance of 5 times round the world. Personally, I’ll be on the running, walking or cycling 5 km for those days to keep up my personal challenge of accumulating 60 minutes of physical activity daily. But this isn’t about me!

It’s about getting people engaged with all physical activity abilities

Please pass this onto your friends and colleagues, they can register here http://5× and take the Challenge with you – you can even create a team together.

 A 40 sec video explains why .

2) Andrew is raising money for Scottish Association for Mental Health- GetActive program. This is a great charity that he’s passionate about. His JustGiving page is here.

For a bit of a laugh here is a trailer for some TV he’s making about the trip.


And remember to also the share the ‘7 investments’ link for a balanced 🙂 comprehensive approach to eradicating physical inactivity.

Message to Andy – if you are looking for something to do, we have a new BJSM podcast up for you – sports cardiology – which includes a paper on whether too much exercise can be harmful. And other podcasts in the editing suite…enjoy!  A personal best wish to you – k2

Very honourable mentions from the BASEM issue of BJSM cover photo competition

25 Oct, 12 | by Karim Khan

By Dr Eleanor Tillett, Guest Editor BJSM Nov 2012

The response to photo competition was great. Photo submissions from the Olympics and Paralympics were considered for the front cover issue of this year’s BASEM edition of the BJSM. Our winner was Ian McCurdie’s action shot from the BMX. However, we also want to give special mention to a few runners up.

Mike Burdon and Simon Petrides didn’t highlight the sporting action nor their medical prowess… More so, they highlighted what sports medics did in their down time. It’s moments like these that keep us all going through a long event. So, in their own words:

Mike Burdon

“I was working in the aquatics centre for 2 weeks as sports medicine doctor. I was asked to cover field of play on the last evening of diving for the 10m men`s platform final. We had been covering training/doing practice drills etc and had some time before the arrival of crowds for the final event.  The atmosphere among the various LOCOG volunteers was great. In exchange for a pin badge I had collected, one of the technicians agreed to put some of our names on the board in lights (I felt this was a great bit of business on my part!). Its location at the pool is where the divers and swimmers are announced to the crowd and just next to the field of play medical room. I decided to have the board display what I thought I represented – being Plymothian and a sports doctor. I was very nervous that evening as Tom Daley was diving. I have worked in diving and know Tom well, also being a fellow Plymothian. I was delighted that later that evening he won his much deserved Olympic medal. This rounded off a memorable two weeks for me.”


Simon Petrides

“It was taken by Dr Dan Ornadel (respiratory physician) as he caught me re-enacting the lighting of the Olympic flame whilst taking a well-earned break between patients at the Polyclinic. I was working there as an MSK and SEM physician. After 2 weeks of 4 am starts and all the excitement perhaps the endorphins were removing all inhibition!”

Thanks again to everyone who entered!



Dr Eleanor Tillett, MBBS, MSc, FFSEM(UK), Guest Editor BJSM Nov 2012, Principal Clinical Teaching Fellow & Honorary Consultant, Sport & Exercise Medicine, UCL National Governing Body Medical Advisor Figure Skating

Modern Day Gladiators – A day at the Colosseum and thoughts of Super 15 at Kings Park.

22 Oct, 12 | by Karim Khan

Guest Blog by SASMA President –

Dr Glen Hagemann

Pollice Verso (Thumbs Down), Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1872.

Two weeks ago I attended the FIMS World Congress of Sports Medicine in Rome. I particularly enjoyed visiting the Colosseum and learning about the Roman gladiators, whose similarity to modern professional rugby players became more and more evident the longer I spent there! The Colosseum had a capacity of around 50,000, similar to that of our local rugby stadium , Kings Park, and the gladiators fought about three to five times every year (unlike our professional players who are expected to put their bodies on the line virtually every weekend). However, considering that the implication of losing a fight was potential death, this number of appearances was probably more than enough!

Contrary to popular belief, however, gladiators did not deliberately fight to the end. When a gladiator lost a fight, the crowd was encouraged to demonstrate whether he lived or died, but the final decision was left to the emperor; lives were often preserved as gladiators were considered valuable assets, just as our professional sportsmen are today. Seriously wounded gladiators, however, were killed by a hammer-wielding executioner (just picture the scene at the end of a Super 15 game…). Despite their value as athletes, gladiators were generally considered second rate citizens and had few if any social privileges. However, the most successful fighters were treated like modern day sporting celebrities. These trained gladiators also joined formal associations, called collegia (just like the South African Rugby Players Association) to ensure that they were provided with proper burials and that adequate compensation was given to their families.

Like the Lambies’ and the Carters’ of the world today, gladiators were often the object of female adoration. Only attractive men would be recruited as the spectators enjoyed good looking gladiators.

Gladiatorial combat was as much a science as modern rugby. Training involved the learning of a series of figures, which were broken down into various phases. Sometimes fans complained that a gladiator fought too mechanically, according to the numbers, something akin to rugby players being “over-coached” today.

Because of their value, gladiators were looked after by only the best doctors. The most famous of these was Aelius Galenus (Galen), the forefather of sports medicine. Galen learnt the importance of diet, fitness, hygiene and preventive measures. He became a master of living anatomy, and the treatment of fractures and severe trauma, referring to wounds as “windows into the body”.  His meticulous attention to gladiators’ wounds resulted in a significant reduction in their mortality rate when compared to his predecessor. In spite of this, he argued strongly against the immoderate lifestyle of athletes and their obsession with victory, which he believed was “unhealthy and potentially dangerous behaviour” (a bit unfair considering the consequences for the defeated gladiator!).  He was probably the most accomplished medical researcher of the Roman period and he later became the personal physician to Emperor Marcus Aurelius. His theories dominated and influenced Western medical science for over 1500 years.


The rest of the medical team included the equivalent of modern day physiotherapists, and the Romans understood the role of sports massage in improving recovery after bouts. Like today, gladiators were placed on high carbohydrate diets and consumed their own type of isotonic sports drink in the form of a foul-smelling bone- ash solution which may even have been a kind of primitive painkiller.



Dr Glen Hagemann is President of the South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA). SAMSA is a BJSM member society. The next SASMA congress will take place in October of 2013. Watch for the special SASMA issue of BJSM in July of 2013.  (The 2011 SASMA issue won first prize in the BJSM cover competition for 2011)

Congrats to Louise Kent – winner of the BJSM cover competition!

6 Jul, 12 | by Karim Khan

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the 1st annual BJSM cover competition. It was a close call, down to the final round where the South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA) Congress took the lead to win best cover of 2011. As promised, we randomly selected a voter to receive a $133 book voucher to

Who won it?

Photographer: Daniel Morcos. Dancers (L - R): Faye Esterhuizen, Christy Giesler, Faith Giesler, Sasha Fourie, Milanje Jooste

What’s your name?

Louise Kent

What do you do for work?

Dance Scientist

Where do you live?

Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa

What cover did you vote for in the final round?

I voted for the South African Sports Medicine Association’s Congress Issue (June 2011).


I really wanted the South African cover to win for its colourful design.

How long have you been reading the BJSM blog?

I began following the BJSM blog at the end of last year (2011).

What do you like the most about the blog?    

I really enjoy the feature: The UK trainee perspective.

What are your future aspirations in the world of Sports and Exercise Medicine?

My goal is to continue educating and providing a service to the dancers of South Africa, who are so often overlooked as athletes in this country. I aim to continue to prevent and reduce injuries through the use of knowledge gained through Sports/Dance Medicine and Science communities and aspire to add to the knowledge base through research.


Thanks Louise, for your commitment to Sports and Dance Medicine. 


Participation, prevention, and treatment at the North Pole Marathon (a guest blog from this year’s winner!)

14 May, 12 | by Karim Khan

Sport and Exercise Medicine: The UK trainee perspective (A monthly series on the BJSM blog)


By Dr. Andrew Murray

Increasing Physical Activity is the biggest public health challenge of the 21st century.  Steven Blair’s message is so powerful that it is worth taking to the ends of the earth. I’m currently working for our CMO Harry Burns in the Scottish Government, promoting physical activity for health as part of their Sport and Physical Activity policy team.  Sir Harry is a fantastic advocate for this important form of medicine and enjoys running himself.

In March I received a late call up to take part in the North Pole Marathon. The race itself takes place at the Geographical Pole.  I’d be helping provide medical cover whilst competitors readied themselves and went husky racing etc. in Spitsbergen – 79 degrees North.  The North Pole is only “inhabited” for 3 weeks of the year, as for the rest of the year it is either permanently dark or the ice starts to break up.  Russians sky-dive in and set up an ice runway each year.  The video footage of tractors floating down on parachutes over the pole is bizarre.  The base doctors take care of competitors during the race itself, with a full medical kit that included a gun. Race director Richard Donovan explained that if a polar bear did turn up that it would be disqualified for failure to enter the race and could be discouraged from hanging around by firing a few shots in the air.

The old medical idiom that “prevention is better than cure” holds true in the Arctic, and of frostbite and hypothermia in particular. We advised competitors on clothing strategy (basically to cover every inch of the body), and when to seek medical attention. The risk assessment ensured that a lapped course kept competitors visible to staff, and avoided any leads/breaks in the ice. A warm tent was available to stock food and water for runners and to ward off any impending hypothermia.  Warm areas had been assigned for self-treat i.e. blisters, as well as for minors and majors.

The race itself is like no other, run not on land but on the frozen Arctic Ocean. Some competitors wear snowshoes with their Gore-Tex trainers to traverse the white world of this beautiful natural freezer.  The 9th of April brought perfect conditions of -26 Celsius and light winds.  The full medical kits were cross checked and the race began.

Amazingly all 41 competitors, from 18 different countries finished with the event even featuring a marriage proposal. Spectator numbers were low, although a seal did pop up occasionally.  I ran round in 4hrs 17 mins, whilst the final competitor took over 11 hours.  There were only a few relatively minor cases of frostbite (much to the disappointment of the documentary makers), in addition to the common expected musculoskeletal injuries.  Anterior knee pain was especially common probably due to the wide gait adopted to chew through the deep snow by most runners, whilst other injuries seen included Achilles tendinopathy, ankle dorsiflexor tendinopathy, and a hip flexor injury. I helped patch runners up once I had finished, and advised the few that were injured on appropriate treatment, including what to tell their doctor in Mauritius who presumably doesn’t see much frostbite.

I think we all have the opportunity to promote physical activity for health.  Steven Blair, Karim Khan, Mike Evans, Richard Weiler and others have done much to produce data, and frame it imaginatively. 23 and a half hours is a must share resource, and sticky messages like “Smokadiabesity” seem to resonate with the public and policy makers.   Additionally, sporting events like the North Pole Marathon offer the chance to put forward a health message.

On a personal level, I’m looking forward to running seven ultra-marathons on seven continents in seven days in November this year, with the sole aim of promoting physical activity as the single best thing that we can do for our health.



Follow Andrew on twitter at @docandrewmurray

Andrew Murray is a Sport and Exercise Medicine Registrar in Scotland.  His book is called “Running Beyond Limits” Mountain Media.  He failed to mention in his blog that he won the North Pole Marathon 2012!

Dr James Thing co-ordinates “Sport and Exercise Medicine: The UK trainee perspective” monthly blog series.



Voltaire as a proponent of soccer therapy

11 May, 12 | by Karim Khan

By  Francois Trudeau and Roy J. Shephard


Soccer has recently been commended as a means of enhancing health in adults with cardiac risk factors [1, 2]. However, a re-reading of the “Book of Fate” [3] suggests that this approach was not exactly news to the French satirical author Voltaire (1694-1778). In this story, Zadig is a Babylonian philosopher who, in his travels, stumbles upon a group of women who are seeking a basilisk, a rare and legendary beast that is king of the serpents. The local physician has suggested this animal can cure Ogul, their Lord and Master. Zadig offers Ogul an alternative remedy, in return for the freedom of the beautiful Astarte:


“Zadig, again addressing himself to Ogul, said; my Basilisk, Sir… is not to be drest or eaten; but all its Virtues must penetrate your whole Fabrick, thro’ your Pores; I have inclos’d my never-failing Sudorific in a Bladder, full-blown and carefully cover’d with the softest Leather. You must kick this Bladder, Sir, once a Day about your Hall for a whole Hour together, with all the Vigour and Activity you possibly can. This Medicine must be repeated every Morning…., Upon your due Observance of the Regimen I shall put you under, I doubt not, but with the Blessing of Heav’n on my honest Endeavours, I shall give you ample Demonstration of my being an Adept in Physick. Ogul, upon making the first Experiment, was ready to expire for want of Breath, and thought he should die with the Fatigue. The second Day did not prove altogether so irksome, and he slept much better at Night than he had done before. In short, our Doctor in about eight Days Time, perform’d an absolute Cure. His Patient was as brisk, active and gay, as One in the Bloom of his Youth.


Now, Sir, said Zadig, I’ll…. disclose to you the important Secret. You have play’d at Foot-ball these eight Days successively; and you have liv’d all that Time, within the Bounds of Sobriety and Moderation. Know, Sir, that there is no such Animal in Nature as a Basilisk; that Health is to be secur’d by Temperance and Exercise…


Ogul’s physician was very reluctant to let such an “anti-medicinale” cure eclipse his own reputation. He plotted with “a set of petty doctors and apothecaries” to poison Zadig, but the latter avoided his planned death with a “rendez-vous gallant.”


Voltaire is known for a less than stellar opinion of the Enlightenment physician, described as one who [4]:

«pours drugs of which he knows little into a body of which he knows less.”


However, Voltaire himself seems to have grasped the health value of 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity per day.



1. Krustrup P, Aagaard P, Nybo L et al.  Recreational football as a health promoting activity: a topical review. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010; 20 Suppl 1:1-13.

2. Randers MB, Petersen J, Andersen LJ et al.  Short-term street soccer improves fitness and cardiovascular health status of homeless men. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011; Sep 29. [Epub ahead of print]

3. de Voltaire, F-MA. Zadig, ou la destinée (Zadig, or the Book of Fate, an Oriental history). 1747/2008, Chapter XV, The Basilisk. (English translation). Boston, Mass : MobileReference.

4. Editor. Medicine a science. Eclectic  Medical Journal (Ohio State Medical Association, Worthington, Ohio) 1871; 31 : 140-141.



Prof Francois Trudeau – Department of Physical Activity Sciences, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Trois-Rivières , P.Q., Canada.

 Prof Roy J. Shephard – Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

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