5 ? with Kate Ackerman #RowingDoc #FemaleAthlete15

rowing with Cornell alumni at HOCR.bow seat

Dr. Kate Ackerman (in bow, far right) rowing with Cornell alumni, Head of the Charles Regatta

The 2015 meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine begins in less than a week, and I–like thousands of my colleagues–am getting ready: getting ready for the conference, getting ready for some blogging and tweeting coming to you from San Diego.

I am looking forward to seeing so many friends in the world of sports medicine:  Avery Faigenbaum, Jon Patricios (with whom I’m giving a talk on ‘social media in sports medicine’), Tim Hewett….and Kate Ackerman.

Kathryn Ackerman, M.D., M.P.H. is a friend of mine whom I first met as she was wrapping up her training with Dr. Lyle Micheli, and I was beginning mine.  She is an internist, fellowship trained in endocrinology as well as sports medicine. She is the Medical Director of the Female Athlete Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, the Associate Director of the Sports Endocrine Research Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, a team physician for US Rowing, and an accomplished rower herself. A renaissance woman.


Dr. Margo Mountjoy (C); Former Editor in Chief of CJSM, Dr. Gordon Matheson (L); and Current Editor in Chief of CJSM Dr. Chris Hughes (R)

She is also the director of an upcoming conference on the “Female Athlete:  Strategies for Optimal Health and Performance”, taking place  June 19 – 20 2015 in Boston. Among the people speaking there are Margo Mountjoy, an internationally recognized expert on the Female Athlete who is also on our Editorial Board.

I just happen to be collaborating on a paper about dance medicine with other colleagues, and the section I am authoring deals in part with some of the issues to be addressed in the Boston conference.  So it was perfect timing for me to catch up with Kate and ask her about her thoughts on the Female Athlete Triad, ‘Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport,’ and more.

Dr. Ackerman!


1) CJSM: Tell us about the upcoming Female Athlete Conference? What are some of the ‘Strategies for Optimal Health and Performance’ you will be discussing in Boston June 19 – 20?

KA: I’m really excited about this conference.  We came up with the idea a few years ago, seeing a need to get good information out to athletes, parents, coaches, and the health providers who treat female athletes.  There really wasn’t anything like this out there- a large conference devoted just to the multiple issues of the female athlete.  So, we held the first 2-day female athlete conference two years ago, and we’ve decided to make it a biennial event. I think it’s a great opportunity to get some great minds together and I’m thrilled that so many people from different parts of the globe have agreed to come speak.  The wealth of information is going to be fantastic and we make sure to provide lots of opportunities to network and mingle.  We have some Brits coming to talk about biomarkers to monitor in endurance female athletes; Swiss Nanna Meyer discussing her experiences applying her sports nutrition research to the diets of US and Swiss Olympians; sports biomechanist Greg Myer speaking about ACL injury prevention; seasoned athletic trainers discussing good training plans for the growing female athlete; eating disorder experts discussing body image and unique issues of female athletes suffering from distorted eating patterns; coaches discussing personality profiling to get the best out of individuals and teams; members of the IOC Medical Commission’s female athlete group discussing RED-S; doctors discussing various sports injury treatments; and star power from Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman and the first woman to enter and win the Boston Marathon, Kathrine Switzer, who has been a great advocate for this conference and women participating in lifelong sports. Read more of this post

FootyFirst: 5 Questions with Dr. Alexander Donaldson

Dr Alexander Donaldson

Dr. Alexander Donaldson, lead author of new research in CJSM

One of the studies in our May CJSM issue that has already made a big splash is injury prevention work coming to us from researchers in Australia:  “Bridging the Gap Between Content and Context: Establishing Expert Consensus on the Content of an Exercise Training Program to Prevent Lower-Limb Injuries.”  This is work looking at prevention of some very common injuries seen in Australian Rules Football, or “Footy.”

As an American who has yet to visit Australia (for shame!), I have only a dim appreciation of the sport.  I have previously written about Footy in a blog post and I read eagerly the occasional article on the sport that make it into the U.S. press; the New York Times, for instance, had a recent article on the search for American talent that may cross-over to Australian rules football.  Who knew that basketball players may make great ruckmen?  Well, plenty of Australians apparently!!!!

The Twitter chatter about the study has been substantial, and it has hit the mainstream press as well.   Our Editor-in-Chief Chris Hughes has made it one of the ‘Editor’s Picks’ this month–it is freely available for a short time.  And now we have the pleasure of having the lead author, Dr. Alexander Donaldson, join us for “5 Questions with CJSM” to talk about Footy and FootyFirst, the exercise intervention which is the subject of the study.


1) CJSM:  Asking as an ignorant American:  What are some of the significant differences between Australian football and American gridiron football?  Or for that matter, between Australian football and rugby, a sport with which I do have some familiarity?

AD:  Where do I start to answer this question? Firstly, unlike American gridiron football or rugby, Australian football does actually involve a lot of kicking a ball to gain ground rather than throwing or running with the ball. In fact, to score a goal in Australian football the ball has to be kicked between the goal post, not caught in or carried into an end zone. Another key difference is that unlike any other form of football, Australian football does not have ‘line of play’ or any sort of off-side rule. It is more like basketball or ice hockey in that players can position themselves anywhere on the field at any time and can enter a contest for the ball from any angle or direction. Like American football and rugby, Australian football is a full contact collision sport However, the only protective equipment commonly worn by Australian football players is a mouth guard to prevent dental injuries – no shoulder pads, and only the occasional soft-shell helmet and body padding, usually only worn to protect an existing injury. At the elite level there are some similarities between the way the American football and Australian football are administered with both having a salary cap and a draft system to embed a certain degree of equalization of the competition over time.

2) CJSM:  What is “FootyFirst”? At the risk of conflating two dissimilar interventions:  how may it resemble (or differ from) the FIFA 11+ warmups that have been used in football (soccer)?  As an injury prevention intervention—how much time is required to perform FootyFirst for the teams adopting the program?

AD:  A very good question. Read more of this post

Dr. Lyle Micheli


Dr. Lyle Micheli (R): The Godfather of Sports Medicine? Dr. Kevin Klingele (L) is inclined to agree


The undisputed ‘Godfather of Soul': James Brown Picture: Dbking @ Flickr

If there is a ‘Godfather of Soul’ is there a ‘Godfather of Sports Medicine’?

I think there may be……..and I’m very lucky to have trained under him.

Speaking as an editor of a clinical journal, I am aware of the phenomenon of bias, and I would acknowledge at least one ‘limitation’ of this blog post is that I am guilty of selection bias.

In truth, however, there could be a very strong case made for Dr. Lyle J. Micheli‘s candidacy for that mythical title.  One argument for the (perhaps) uncanny resemblance between the two ‘Godfathers’ is Mr. James Brown’s nickname:  “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business.”  No doubt, if there were a “Hardest Working Man” in Sports Medicine, the award would be given to Dr. Lyle Micheli:  even still, at age 70+, it is rumored that he performs more surgeries than any other orthopedist in the New England region of USA.  This is a man who works six days a week, and on the seventh…..well, unlike God, Dr. Micheli doesn’t rest:  he writes. Research Manuscripts.

At CJSM, we have been the recipient of several of his studies that have made the peer review grade and been published.  They span a period from 1992 (Arthroscopic Evaluation and Treatment of Internal Derangements of the Knee in Patients Older than 60 Years) to 2015 (A Closer Look at Overuse Injuries in the Pediatric Athlete).  Recognize that CJSM itself is celebrating its 25th year, and so, in essence, Dr. Micheli has been publishing in our journal for as long as we have been in existence.

His career goes back farther, into those dim reaches of the sports medicine universe that precede the Big Bang, er, the birth of CJSM in 1990.  His career in sports medicine dates back to the 60’s.  He was treating athletes before Jim Fixx gave birth to a  running boom in the United States.  Put another way, he was Medical Director of the Boston Marathon when Americans were still winning the thing…..and he is still at the Finish Line: in 2015 and in the infamous 2013 Marathon about which I have written in this blog.

He is currently visiting here in Columbus, Ohio, ready to give Grand Rounds on ‘Spinal Injuries in Young Athletes,’ and it’s great to see him.  We’ll be doing a podcast together, and I plan on sharing a link to that on our CJSM Social Media.

For now, let me end this encomium with one last parallel between the two Godfathers.  Sure, James Brown was prolific:  over his career he produced how many hits? married how many times (4)? had how many children (6)?  Dr. Micheli?  Well, let’s just say he has ‘given birth’ to many sports medicine children, who continue to follow his path in the field of sports medicine practice and research:  Meehan, Stracciolini, d’Hemecourt, Luke, Loud.…even myself.  And so many, many more!   There are seemingly untold disciples spread across the globe continuing his example of hard work and research productivity. Micheli?  Prolific? Oh my, yes.

He’d be the first to say, however, that it’s all about evidence-based (not eminence-based medicine), and so I hear his voice in my conscience, telling me to stop this now!  And get to doing some real work:  run a regression, do those edits on the manuscript that is due, figure out the solution to a problem in the athletes you care for!

Besides, the day has passed, it’s the middle of the night, and I hear the Chimes of Midnight……Grand Rounds is less than 6 hours from now.  Good night!!!!!

May Day! May Day!


Net Ball? Cirque de Soleil? No– it’s a group of ‘Greek maidens’ celebrating May Day around the Maypole!

It’s May–time for dancing around the Maypole….and time for the third issue of CJSM for 2015.

We have quite a lot in store for you in this issue.  We have made the Practical Management article on Concussion Management in Collegiate Student-Athletes : Return to Academics Recommendation the main Editor’s pick and set it free.  There is a growing body of evidence on “Return to Play” from a concussion–but what should a student-athlete do about “Return to Learn”?  Read the article and find out!

Our second “Editor’s Pick” is an article on injury prevention in Aussie Rules Football: Bridging the Gap Between Content and Context:  Establishing Expert Consensus on the Content of an Exercise Training Program to Prevent Lower-Limb Injuries.  If it’s from Australia, and the subject is injury prevention, it is no surprise that one of the authors on this important contribution is Caroline Finch, the doyenne of Antipodean sport safety!  This “Editor’s Pick” is free too.

There is more, much more, including other familiar names from the world of sports medicine research.  We’ve chatted up Chris Nowinski in the past on one of our podcasts–he is one of the authors in another offering on concussions:  Concussion Reporting Intention:  A Valuable Metric. Jim Borchers–whom we last caught up with shortly after his OSU Buckeyes had won the NCAA DI College Football Championship–has co-authored an interesting case report on a serious skin infection in a football player.

One of the new aspects of CJSM in 2015 is our ‘Case Report’ section: now to be found  on-line,  a move which enhances the potential for multiple media (video, audio) to be posted as part of the descriptions of some of these cases.  If you’re a subscriber but have historically loved the print version of the journal, don’t despair; but to get the case reports do go to the website or download the CJSM app on your iPad.

Finally, and this blog post is by no means an exhaustive list of all May’s offerings, there is another interesting case report on a traction apophysitis in an adolescent athlete–found in a rather uncommon place.  As a pediatric sports medicine physician  I read this case  from Stanford with great interest.

We hope you enjoy this issue of the journal, and we hope spring has come your way in the Northern Hemisphere…or that you may be enjoying a mild Fall if you are Down Under.

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