HYMS Society for Sport and Exercise Medicine: Reflections and Moving Forward

Guest blog by Sean Carmody

Where are all of the other students?

This was the question posed by opening speaker Dr. John Moroney at the official launch of The Hull York Medical School (HYMS) Society for Sport and Exercise Medicine last year. He was referring to the fact that there were only fifty or so students in the lecture hall, which is a relatively small proportion of the student population of HYMS, and a number which indicates the uphill battle that this society faces in trying to convince our peers that Exercise Medicine has an increasingly significant place on the health agenda.

As we prepare to celebrate our one year anniversary, we must acknowledge that the HYMS Society for Sport and Exercise Medicine faces a different set of challenges from those which we encountered twelve months ago. While before we were preoccupied with expanding our Facebook following and ensuring we had the most attractive logo, now we must delve deeper and ask ourselves challenging questions about the fundamental purpose of our Society:

  • Do we still believe in spreading the word of Sports Medicine?
  • Is there a credible place for our society amongst the likes of SurgSoc and The Ethics Society?

Bearing in mind that birthdays can be retrospective occasions, now seems a particularly appropriate time to address these questions.

The short answer to the these questions is yes. It must be. By now the global obesity pandemic, and its associated complications, has received widespread media coverage. A recurring theme in the newspaper columns and TV programmes dedicated to this pandemic is that exercise, coupled with nutrition, is the safest and most practical solution to the crisis. So, in exposing our colleagues to experts in the field of Sport and Exercise Medicine, we are enhancing their awareness of its importance, while defeating the myth that Sports Medicine is limited to the glamour of providing for professional sports teams. (see Blair, SN. 2009. Physical inactivity: the biggest public health problem of the 21st century, BJSM).

The highlight in our brief history so far has, undoubtedly, been the official launch event. It was particularly fitting that Dr. John Moroney, a General Practicioner in the local community and Chief Medical Officer at York City FC, would commence proceedings. He provided us with a valuable insight into the challenges of balancing life as a GP and lower league team doctor. We were also provided with the unique opportunity of hearing from a ‘patient’ as such, as Matt Murray, a former professional footballer with Wolverhampton Wanderers, detailed his experience of medical professionals throughout his career-long battle with injury.

During this academic year, we are hoping to build on what we achieved last time round, and the impending London 2012 Olympics provides an excellent platform from which to do so. With membership swelling, and the hosting of a national student conference in the pipeline for Spring 2012, there are encouraging signs for the HYMS Society for Sport and Exercise Medicine. Nevertheless, the question posed by Dr. Moroney on opening night, and its implication, still resonate with us. But it has challenged us, and driven us forward too.


Sean Carmody is a third year medical student at the Hull York Medical School, and a co-founder of the HYMS Society for Sport and Exercise Medicine.

The Hull York Medical School (HYMS) Society for Sport and Exercise Medicine is a student-led initiative which acts as a formal outlet for HYMS students to explore the possibility of taking up a career in Sports Medicine. It was founded in Autumn, 2010.

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