An exSEMplary weekend for students – ECOSEP congress commentator recap

Undergraduate perspective on Sports & Exercise Medicine  a BJSM blog series

By Mohammed Mahmood

I came to ECOSEP, I saw a vast array of SEM and I conquered my Bucket List. For a break from the norm, here is a summary of the Congress through my “sports’ commentary parodying” eyes…

BBC TV grandstandHello ladies, gentlemen, one and all. Welcome to Day One of what promises to be an enthralling two days’ play at the ECOSEP 2013 student Congress.  So without further ado let’s go for the pre-match pitch inspection.

As you can’t see, I’m standing out here at the historic SW7 of South Kensington with my trusted brolley. Let’s be honest I’m over prepared – it’s overcast, there’s a bit of a smattering of rain, but this is London.  Let’s take a closer look at the wicket now.  We can see there’s some general scuffing around the crease, as to be expected with the moisture in the air.  At the entry of the Sir Alexander Fleming Building there appears to be a low entry volume of anything but attendees for the congress.   And the noise level is picking up now as… yes, there it is… the covers are coming off and the umpires are approaching the wicket. We’re about to start… And I’m still here on the pitch… Blimey, I better go.  Oh hang on I forgot my umbrella!

I’m looking at the schedule and it doesn’t half look like an event.

On paper they’re lining up with a conventional 2-day weekend system, but we’ll definitely see a flowing game and a change in approach from one day to the next.  The line up is as follows…

Day 1

A variety of talks spread across the morning with workshop activities in the afternoon, and poster presentations playing just behind in the slips.

Day 2

A core lineup made of joint examinations with small group workshops followed by a strong strike partnership of trauma scenarios.

And that’s the plan but now to the action –  GO GO GO!.

And as we approach the first corner it’s a lightning start straight into the career path of an SEM doctor. Dr. Dinesh Srisena is not holding back, it’s pedal to the metal and he’s telling it like it is: handling those chicanes with silky smooth precision but letting us know it takes some work and effort to get there. But every cloud has a silver lining – the talk ends with a picture of Dinesh relaxing with Linford Christie!

A swift slick move and we’re into some alternative perspectives from junior Drs. Paul Remy Jones and Liam West.  The former is sprinting down the wing showing some real passion for research in SEM and invaluable advice on how to get involved.  For a tall lad he’s good with his research! That is some assist by Dr Jones!  Down the other flank is Dr. West, putting in some tasty crosses with how to get involved in Undergraduate SEM activities in the UK & advice on electives with a quick whistle-stop tour of his own experiences in Australia and Qatar.  Impressive wing play from both.  There’s no stopping this move with Sarah Morton providing cover for the more junior students – the best bits on a BSc in Sports Medicine and her experience of intercalation.

A short restart and we’re back in business.  The play is immediately switched and we’ve got some in-depth insights into novel research in the field.  A lovely little ball, and Professor Timmons is first in on exercise, ageing and human variation.  This really is fascinating stuff.  So much work has gone into this move and the intricacies involved are mind-blowing.  And a reverse ball plays through Imperial’s very own Professor McGregor.  Looking relaxed on home turf. Rowing is the name of this research game, notably injury prevention and performance.  That looks like a back injury.

Overall, two days of very different aspects of SEM research showcasing the breadth of work involved in this exciting discipline.

The umpires call a meeting and decide it’s time for lunch.  After an action-packed first session, it’s now time to chew over the offered delights.  There are numerous mouthwatering research posters for viewing with the student authors on hand to hit those questions down the ground to the long boundary for 4.

Refreshment.  Digestion.  To preparation.  Its now time for the “Physical Activity Afternoon Entertainment Extravaganza” with Dr. Sophie Bates and the team.  Or ‘How to prescribe exercise’ for short.  The attendees are split into four teams.   A short video followed by quick-fire problem answering and the competitive claws are out!  The new ball is out for the grand finale, just like something straight out of Lord Alan Sugar’s pocket: a project task to encourage physical activity in various settings.   Some fantastic theoretical projects were created and presented before Dr. Bates gave an inspiration final team talk offering valuable tips on how to get your patients active.

The rain is pouring down as the delegates return to the course. Prof. John King is clearly in his home territory as he lays down the ball and tees off the joint examinations session with the Knee.  Hingey!  Next up Dr. Tom Crisp with a quick rotator around the shoulder.  Ball and sockety!  And talar-ing it off, Dr. Pippa Bennett on the foot and ankle.  Joint overload!  Differing styles with excellent tips and explanations from the trio. It’s been a tricky but rewarding course so far! The best session?  Let’s get a hawk eye review in our small group tutoring and practice warm-ups – and it’s confirmed, an excellent run through of some major examination techniques from all – Draw! The first of its kind in Musculoskeletal Golf…

To the afternoon, and we’re straight into the deep end with various on-field trauma simulations from Michelle Rudd.  The chance to get hands on with scoops, defibrillators and C-spine collars… and that all-important entonox!  So many traumas, so little time!  The message of the day: ABCDE, ABCDE, ABCDE, ABCDE… It’s like the Jackson 5 meeting Vinnie Jones.  There’s fractures, MI, head trauma, hyperthermia.  So many problems!  A great taster for the younger students and some invaluable hands-on revision for the older ones.

There’s inevitably some more “Fergie Time”, but things have quickly come to a head for this exceptional weekend.  There’s been something for everyone.  Particular highlights for me: the trauma scenarios – literally, metaphorically priceless for final year medical student like myself.  Then there was plenty of informative talks for younger years, as well as practical activities for them and all of the medical, physio and sports science students to sink those incisors into.

You can’t win the title in October but you can certainly help yourself get closer. And this was a great positive start and a brilliant advert for our game.  Let’s take it one match at a time and see where we are in 2014.  Until then I’ll be gone ‘til November – beginning with the BASEM Congress 2013 and ending with SEMSOC 2013 in Manchester.

Hope to catch some of you budding SEM enthusiasts there!

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