Undergraduate perspective on Sport & Exercise Medicine – a BJSM blog series
By Liam Newton @newton_liam and Sean Carmody @seancarmody1
Today’s sports medicine clinicians have a wealth of quality educational resources on tap. The British Journal of Sports Medicine blog series, podcasts and original articles are easy examples to cite. They are also complimented nicely by many others including the Aspetar Sports Medicine Journal, Yann Le Meur infographics and Physio Edge Podcasts. However, back in 2016 we recognised that the extent of resources tailored specifically to undergraduates didn’t reflect the burgeoning interest among that population. Thus, the Undergraduate Sport and Exercise Medicine Society (USEMS) eMagazine was created to serve students who are passionate about SEM.
The aim of the publication is to inspire the next generation of sports medicine professionals by providing expert analysis, insight and comment from prominent figures within the field in a modern, easy-to-read format. Similarly, it allows a platform for undergraduate students to write and contribute their unique perspective on key issues within the specialty. We want to produce content which generates debate, raises contentious issues and is as equally appealing to established clinicians as to students.
Perhaps the most valuable aspect of producing the eMag has been the opportunity to engage with and build relationships with influential clinicians and researchers in sports medicine. Their willingness to volunteer their time to create quality content to advance student knowledge of sports medicine is a huge testament to the spirit of collaboration and sharing within the specialty. In addition to their efforts, this simply wouldn’t have been possible without the design genius of Dr Fadi Hassan (and my architect sister Rachel Carmody for the 2nd edition!).
To wet the appetite, below we have list 10 important quotes taken from the editions published to date:
- “I think it is vital to build a rapport with all the players and develop an open and trusting relationship. When I took over as the Lead Doctor my first objective was to build my relationship with the players. I ensured I made time to speak to them on medical and not medical matters to help build that bond. I have learnt from working in sport over the years that unless the players trust you there is no point in being there.” – Dr Ritan Mehta, England Women’s Performance Doctor, shares his experiences of looking after an international team in our first edition here.
- “There has been much debate and controversy regarding the effects of the menstrual cycle on athletic performance. Paula Radcliffe is quoted as saying that “Sport has not learned how to deal with elite athletes’ periods” and that this was attributable to a “lack of learning” and understanding often from male doctors.” – Dr Kirsty Elliot-Sale delves into the effects of menstruation on sports performance in our edition on The Female Athlete published here.
- “Feedback from all 20 teams and team doctors has confirmed that the medical logistics and support provided during RWC 2015 was the best ever. All medical scenarios had been analysed, dissected and planned for efficient management at all stadia. Back up medical services for teams away from competition were also excellent with designated area medical officers and priority access to key medical support services being available.” – Chief Medical Officer of World Rugby Dr Martin Raftery reflects on the successful medical provision at the Rugby World Cup in our second edition.
- “Tournament competition is always high-pressured. Regardless of whether you are a player or member of the management team, personal and public expectation always weighs heavily on every team. Everyone is looking to compete at the highest level and to give the best account of themselves and their country they represent.” – In our second edition, Prav Mathema, National Medical Manager of the Welsh Rugby Union, records the challenges faced by his medical team during a week at the Rugby World Cup.
- “Managers, Chief Executives and fans alike demand the opportunity to see the best players in the team pitted against the opposition. Prevention is much more ethical, sustainable and cost-effective than treatment and cure. The issue is how do we better prevent injuries, or more so, how to we avoid many of the injuries, especially the non-contact, that often blight the game ?” – Mike Davison, of the Isokinetic Medical Group, sets out his vision of the future of football medicine in our third edition.
- “For those of you looking to work in SEM, I can strongly recommend spending some time working in disability sport. Although it may be perceived to be less glamorous or “sexy” than other forms of elite sport medicine, the athletes you are working with will provide you with clinical reasoning challenges that will be far more complex (and in my opinion more interesting!) than working with mainstream athletes.” – In the third edition, Osman Ahmed lays out the unique challenges faced in looking after the Great Britain Cerebral Palsy Football Squad.
- “We do, however, have to acknowledge that injuries and illness occur, and contingency planning has occupied much of our thoughts – what if our main medal hopes get injured? How do we ensure they receive speedy access to the best medical care when they train on the other side of the country to our base in Lilleshall? Each potential Olympic Team member has a contingency plan in place so that all eventualities are covered.” – In our fourth edition themed Lessons from Rio: Reflecting on the Olympic Games , Chief Medical Officer for British Gymnastics, Dr Chris Tomlinson spoke about the challenges of preparing for a major event. Team GB gymnasts subsequently finished the Rio Olympic Games with seven medals across all three gymnastics disciplines, making it their most successful Olympic performance in history.
- “As the competition draws to a close on Sunday, most players make their way straight from the locker room to the airport as they head on to the next event. The tour schedule, in particular the European Tour, can be relentless and this high volume of flights, temporary time zones and often new/foreign cuisines all increase the risk of illness for the players and caddies” – Top sports nutritionist David Dunne dissects the nutritional requirements of elite golfers in our most recent edition here.
- “Any sport worth its salt has a joint or body part to claim as its own. Football has claimed the knee, rugby has claimed the brain, and the wrist belongs to golf. In the past, there was a poor understanding of the wrist among sports physicians, and we were referring cases that weren’t particularly complicated to specialist wrist surgeons, when in truth, they didn’t really require a surgical input. As a consequence, I have tried to foster better knowledge among trainees and doctors that work on the Tour in the clinical assessment of the wrist.” – Chief Medical Officer of the European Tour Dr Roger Hawkes shares key lessons for young clinicians hoping to work in professional golf here.
- “Sports medicine professionals are imperative to upholding integrity in sport. Clinicians need to be conscious of the wider personnel influencing the decisions of golfers – it is equally important that the anti-doping messages reach them too. It is a difficult environment to work in, because golfers are on the road so often, and getting messages to them is not always easy.” – Michele Verroken, Anti-Doping advisor to the PGA European Tour, demands change in how we tackle anti-doping issues here.
All editions are available through this link: http://www.basem.co.uk/usems/usems-emagazine/
If you would like a .pdf copy of any edition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Liam Newton works as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist in the NHS as well as AFC Bournemouth Academy. You can find him on Twitter @newton_liam.
Sean Carmody is a junior doctor working in London. He tweets regularly on topics related to sports medicine, health and high performance @seancarmody1.
Jonathan Shurlock is an academic foundation year 2 doctor based in Sheffield. He coordinates the BJSM Undergraduate Perspective blog series. If you would like to contribute to the blog series please email email@example.com.