By Dr. Adam Castricum
The Board of the Australasian College of Sports Physicians is proud to announce that a special resolution was passed at the Annual General Meeting on Sunday, February 14, 2016 to change the name of the College to the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians (ACSEP).
Since its humble beginnings in 1985, from a small group of nineteen passionate like minded individuals, as the Australian College of Sports Physicians, the College has always been progressive in its thinking. In 1991, the College awarded its first Fellowships. In 1992, the College began training its own registrars in private practice, a pioneering training model which continues to this day. In 1993, our New Zealand colleagues joined the College, with the name changing to Australasian College of Sports Physicians in 2005.
Importantly, the College gained specialty recognition in New Zealand in 1998 and then finally in Australia in 2009. The College now numbers 159 Fellows practicing in all corners of the globe and a record 55 trainees, undergoing a robust training program in all regions of Australia, New Zealand and beyond.
The College has also recently moved to a new skills based Board structure, with a new Chairman, Professor Jon Watson, the Dean of Deakin University Medical School in Geelong, Australia.
The Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians is the pre-eminent professional body for Sport and Exercise Medicine in Australasia. Their vision is to provide the world’s best training, standards and research in the specialty of Sport and Exercise Medicine. The College supports its doctors in clinical practice in order to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities through the enabling and promotion of physical activity.
The members of the College felt a name change was needed to accurately reflect who they are and their scope of practice. Sport and Exercise Physicians work closely with General Practitioners, Physicians, Radiologists, Psychiatrists and Surgeons, particularly Orthopaedic Surgeons, as well as Allied Health professionals to lead and co-ordinate rehabilitation and exercise programs to not only treat but prevent chronic diseases.
The goal of all Sport and Exercise Physicians should be to facilitate all members of the community to exercise safely well into their next century, at the same time warding off the burden of chronic disease. Not only does this benefit all individuals, families and communities, but it also reduces the ballooning costs on an already overstretched health system.
Exercise medicine – incontrovertible benefits
We know from an increasing number of studies that regular physical activity has a powerful effect on reducing the burden of non-communicable chronic disease. A February 2015 report from the UK’s Academy of Royal Colleges described the “miracle cure” of performing 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five times a week, as more powerful than many drugs administered for chronic disease prevention and management. Such regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers by at least 30%[i]. There is also increasing evidence that regular exercise is effective in the early management of mental illnesses such as depression[ii]. These diseases are among the leading public health issues facing the world in the 21st century[iii].
In light of the current Australian Federal Government evidence based review of the Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS), it prompted the current Vice-President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr. Stephen Parnis, an Emergency Physician, to recently state that “if physical activity were a drug, the community would demand that it be listed on the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme)”.
Significantly, ACSEP follows a number of other international Sports Medicine organisations to have similarly incorporated Exercise into their names, including BASEM – The British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine, CASEM – The Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine and ECOSEP – The European College of Sport and Exercise Physicians.
The Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians will continue to uphold and advance world leading training and practice in the specialty of Sport and Exercise Medicine. We are perfectly positioned to lead and promote incorporation of exercise and physical activity into the daily lives of all members of the community, whether healthy or unwell. We will continue to work closely with our peak sporting bodies and teams, medical and allied health colleagues, as well as the greater community to keep us all active and healthy.
Dr. Adam Castricum is a Sport and Exercise Physician and President of the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians (ACSEP)
[ii] Dwan K, Grieg CA et al. Exercise for Depression (Review); Cochrane Review, 2015:1-160.
[iii] Murray CJL, Lopez AD. Measuring the global burden of disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 2013;369:448-57.