Open Water Swimming


Sunrise over Lac St. Jean, site of FINA 10K and 32K open water swimming events

Amazing to think that the Rio Olympics opening ceremony takes place a mere week from now.

I am, currently, enjoying the good fortune of mixing with Olympians from several countries who will be headed there for the open water swim events.  This weekend I am in Roberval, Canada (3 hours north of Quebec City), at Lac St. Jean — where the FINA/HOSA 10K marathon World Cup and 32K Gran Prix events are taking place.

I am a FINA medical delegate at these events.  I have written about this experience before in a 2013 blog post:  the 32K Gran Prix event coincides with an historic open water swim that has been done for decades on this lake, the Traversee internationale du lac St-Jean.

It is a great pleasure to be involved in an international sporting event like this one.  The local organizing committee does fabulous work.  I am privileged to work with fellow FINA representatives from New Zealand and France. Outside of the work hours, we get to socialize some and partake in the hospitality of the Roberval community.

I also greatly enjoy working for the athletes, watching out for their health and safety.  I genuinely enjoy getting to know them and experience vicariously the thrill of their competition. The joy and challenges of sport are a special dimension of human culture —  I am sure this is what leads many of us to sports medicine.

I think it is those broader, aspirational aspects of sport that lead many of us in the sport medicine community to push back on efforts toIMG_2210 cheat, such as doping.  And it’s no surprise that for an elite, international event like this one FINA has doping surveillance as part of its core mission.  One of the roles I play during my time on site is to supervise the excellent work done by representatives of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, which conducts post-race testing on select individuals many of whom, as I have indicated, will be swimming soon in Rio, where we already have had headline-making doping news before the games have even begun!

We have published frequently on the issue of doping in the pages of CJSM and these blog pages.  We hope you take this chance to click on those links and look at some of that work, in advance of the upcoming Olympics.  And, since it’s Friday, it’s time to follow something new — I would suggest the Facebook page of FINA, which is so well done, and will be hopping with information about this weekend’s Traversee and next month’s Olympics.

Enjoy the Games!  Let them be competitive, safe, and clean.

CJSM Podcast 15 — Dr. Lyle Micheli on ACL Injuries in Young Athletes

jsm-podcast-bg-1Today we have as our guest on the podcast Dr. Lyle Micheli, the Director of Sports Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and Clinical Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Micheli is one of the godfathers of sports medicine, with a career that began in the sixties and shows no signs of slowing down.  He still outworks almost any other physician I know, and still performs high volumes of surgical procedures, including ACL reconstructions, the subject of this podcast.

He also finds the time to have published innumerable manuscripts, and CJSM has been the recipient of many of his excellent studies.


L to R: Myself; Dr. Lyle Micheli, Dr. Pierre d’Hemecourt (Boston Children’s), Dr. Jeff Vaughn (Phoenix Children’s)

The focus of the podcast is on a study just published in our July 2016 CJSM, Return to Sport after Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction in the Skeletally Immature Athlete.  We had the chance to discuss how ACL injury management in the young athlete has changed over the course of his career, and we got to explore with Dr. Micheli the radical new direction in which ACL injury treatment may be headed:  with repair, as opposed to reconstruction — the Bridge-enhanced ACL Repair (BEAR) trial is a hot topic in the world of orthopaedic sports medicine.

You can access the podcast at iTunes (where you can also subscribe to all our podcasts for free) or on our journal’s main website. And the study on CJSM is free. Let us know what you think!

Getting Published — a “Junior’s” Perspective

dawn thompson

The newly published, Dr. Dawn Thompson

A regular contributor to this blog is Dawn Thompson, who most recently wrote a very well-received post on gender and our profession of sports medicine.  She is a Sports Medicine physician in training and one of our Junior Associate Editors.

I had several CJSM tasks for the day, including preparation for an upcoming podcast with Dr. Lyle Micheli and doing some CJSM peer review, and so I was delighted to find Dawn was ready and able to volunteer her time to share with us this post, penned shortly after her success of having her first manuscript accepted for publication.  Congratulations Dawn:  keep the publications (and the blog posts) coming!


Dawn Thomposon

Yes! I can finally say I have a genuine original article published in my name! More than 2 years in the making and I have to say it has been a fairly frustrating experience! However, thanks to good colleagues and perseverance we have got there.

Back in April 2016, CJSM wrote a blog post following the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine conference on getting published and peer review. This blog provides some excellent further resources, however for those new to the world of research and getting published, here are my top 10 hints and tips to try to make it slightly less of a frustrating experience!

  1. Choose something you are passionate about – you will be devoting a significant amount of time to this topic!
  2. Choose a good supervisor to guide you and a colleague/peer to work with – things are better shared!
  3. It doesn’t have to be something huge or groundbreaking but if fairly novel or of importance it is worth pursuing
  4. Select your journal wisely. Be realistic and target your papers strength to that of the journal you choose. It’s probably worth considering whether or not you want to aim for open access which will likely encounter a fee.
  5. Follow the submission instructions of the journal – sounds simple but all journals have slightly different instructions and may reject your paper if these are not followed.
  6. Check, re-check and triple check your manuscript before submission!
  7. Be prepared to rework large parts of your paper if needed in response to reviewers comments.
  8. If not accepted initially, try to work out why and make appropriate amendments. It may be that the reviewers give comments which you can act upon or it may be that your paper wasn’t right for the selected journal.
  9. If despite best attempts your paper doesn’t get published consider writing it up as a presentation for a conference or as a letter to the editor. It will still look great on your CV and get you points in job applications!
  10. Develop broad shoulders! Don’t take it personally if you do not get accepted right away – journals have set criteria for accepting papers and it might just be yours doesn’t fit these or their current direction. You will get there eventually and likely the finished product will be better for it!


Happy researching!

Doctor, Doctor — Give Me the News!


CJSM at CASEM 2014 with Pierre Fremont [L], former CASEM President & one of the authors in the new CASEM Position Statement

CJSM has always had a close relationship with the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine (CASEM).  CASEM is, after all, our mother — we were ‘born’ 25+ years ago as the “Canadian Journal of Sport Medicine.”   In the journal, on the podcasts and on these blog pages, CASEM shows up frequently.

Something else that shows up frequently in CJSM media:  research on the benefits of physical activity.  And so it’s not surprising to see in our current issue that CASEM is taking a hard look at the issue of “Exercise is Medicine” and is publishing with CJSM (and other journals) a position statement on the “Physical Activity Prescription:  A Critical Opportunity to Address a Modifiable Risk Factor for the Prevention and Management of Chronic Disease.”

The list of authors involved is a list of sports medicine heavyweights, including several MD/PhDs who have a presence on social media:  if you are not currently following folks like lead author Jane Thornton MD, PhD and former CASEM President Pierre Frémont MD, PhD and BJSM Editor-in-chief Karim Khan MD, PhD….you should.

These ‘doctor doctors,’ as I like to call my colleagues who have fought the good fight to earn an MD and a PhD, have produced a powerful statement that will have significant influence on how physicians can play a role in addressing the worldwide crisis of sedentary behavior.  The global problem of inactivity especially in children has been an ongoing concern of mine, and it has puzzled me that when I have spoken on this issue I frequently find that physicians feel as if they are on the sideline of this battle.  We collectively throw up our hands and say the problem is too big, or it’s not a clinical medicine problem it’s a public health issue.

But our patients are looking to us for guidance on this issue.  They really do ‘want the news.’ As the authors note in the position statement, “Over 80% of Canadians visit their doctors every year and prefer to get health information directly from their family physician. Unfortunately, most physicians do not regularly assess or prescribe physical activity as part of routine care,  and even when discussed, few provide specific recommendations.

They continue, “Physical activity prescription has the potential to be an important therapeutic agent for all ages in primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of chronic disease.”  Indeed, Robert Palmer, the singer of “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)” fame, could not have known how prescient he was when he penned the lyrics, “no pill’s gonna cure my ill…..”  He was talking about love, but he may as well have been talking about the chronic diseases associated with physical inactivity. Prescribing a pill won’t cure this ill: the physical activity prescription, delivered and acted upon, is required.

The beauty of this position statement is that it gives evidence-based tools that primary care physicians as well as sports and exercise medicine physicians can use in their practice to stem the tide of the inactivity epidemic.  I know this statement will be widely read and disseminated; it will be referenced frequently.  I am looking forward even more to seeing its principles put in action by me and my colleagues, around the world–both in our clinics and in the venues where we train future physicians.

Look it over now.  It’s free!  What’s stopping you?


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