Sports Medicine – Past and Present


Sports medicine was initially coordinated in the ancient areas of Greece and Rome where many of the young athletes were not being properly trained. Striving to improve their training and provide better overall supervision of the young athlete’s physical education became a concern for the people of these societies. This coordination of physical education was used to help increase the strength and abilities of the athletes in a carefully controlled way, which would allow their progress to be carefully monitored. In events as far back as the 5th century, it is possible to notice distinct training to help discourage injuries starting with such people as Herodicus, who is credited with using therapeutic exercise to help heal injuries, and also Galen who was a doctor that was assigned to monitor the gladiators of the 2nd Century. Previous attempts at using doctors for preventative training were largely ignored with physicians and doctors only being used in the event that an injury occurred. Despite these efforts it was not until many years later that sports medicine itself was actually conceived. During the 1928 Olympics, which were held in St. Moritz a small committee was formed with the task of organizing the International Congress of sports medicine. At this time, the idea of using actual doctors to help prevent the occurrence of injuries was brought to light. During the Summer Olympics of 1968, which were held in Mexico City, Dr. J.C. Kennedy organized a team of doctors that was to travel with the Canadian athletes to ensure they were well cared for. In addition, Dr. Kennedy became the founder of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine. Dr. Kennedy earned the honor of being appointed to be the Chief Medical Officer for the first medical team to be officially associated with the Olympics in the 1972 Summer Olympics that were held in Munich, Germany. This was a task that proved even the Olympics were starting to place value in the idea of sports medicine. As time has progressed the involvement of physicians and doctors in more than just the treatment of injuries has increased. Many athletes see doctors regularly for check ups and testing to ensure that they are in the best physical shape possible, while still achieving the athletic goals that they desire. While the use of a sports medicine team by many is still considered a luxury, for others it is an essential aspect of being a responsible athlete. As the amount of care provided to athletes before injuries occur has increased, the number of injuries that are being treated has decreased which leads to a better quality of life for many athletes. Deciding to be proactive in the treatment options of athletes is part of what sets sports medicine apart from many other fields. Rather than waiting until an injury occurs, sports medicine aims to continuously minimize the risk to athletes to achieve the best results. Sports medicine has come a very long way in recent years, and continued research and growth in the field is abundantly clear. Most athletic teams travel with a team of doctors, and most athletes, particularly professionals, are all eagerly willing to work with a well qualified sports medicine team to improve their health. From reduced injuries to improving performance results, the field of sports medicine has made incredible progress since its beginnings in Ancient Rome and Greece.

 


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