South Africa — here we come

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The flags of the USA & RSA: South Africa, here we come!

It’s Monday, and in a busy American football season that means a clinic full of Friday’s injuries.  Some interesting stuff came my way today, including a jersey finger, an angulated 1st metacarpal fracture which needed a closed reduction, and an OCD lesion of the knee in a youth.

When not focused on those clinical encounters, I find my mind straying elsewhere, as 10 days from now I will join a couple of other folks from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) for a 2+ week tour of the sports medicine scene in South Africa. Dr. Doug McKeag, a former president of AMSSM,  Dr. Alison Brooks and I will be the AMSSM ‘travelling fellows’ heading out on this tour.  Our hosts there will include Jon Patricios, Phatho Zondi and Piere Viviers, among others, of the South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA), and we’ll be culminating the trip with a visit to the 16th biennial congress of SASMA taking place 20 – 22 October in Johannesburg.

South Africa has a powerfully strong sports culture, which I’ve witnessed first hand when I last travelled to that beautiful country 20+ years ago.  I think of the great rugby and cricket teams the country has fielded [the former battling in the Rugby World Cup right now].   I think of the dominant golfers, Gary Player, Ernie Els, and a new generation headed by Louis Oosthuizen and others. And who could leave out mention of one of the premier ultramarathons on the planet, the Comrades Marathon, or the cause celebre of Caster Semenya.

The country has fielded an equally powerful team of sports medicine physicians and researchers over the years, many of whom have graced the journal pages and other media of CJSM.  I think of Tim Noakes & Jon Patricios.  I think of the research on hyponatremia and exercise-associated muscle cramping and more.

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Table Mountain & its table cloth– we’ll be there soon. Photo: courtesy of Shizhao

As we AMSSM fellows travel from Cape Town, to Pretoria and Johannesburg, we’ll be telling our stories on this blog and on social media.  If you’re on Twitter or Instagram, be sure to follow the hashtag #AMSSMTravellingFellows as Drs. Brooks, McKeag and I share our stories and our pictures.  SASMA2015 will have a bevy of the world’s ‘top dogs’ in the sports medicine world.  Folks like Drs. Lyle Micheli, Jonathan Drezner, Cindy Chang, and Karim Khan will be speaking at SASMA2015, and we’ll profile what they have to say on hot topics in the world of sports medicine.

I’m off to pack.  I can’t wait to get to the land of the Springboks and Proteas, of Table Mountain and the Witwatersrand.  More soon!

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About sportingjim
I work at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio USA, where I am a specialist in pediatric sports medicine. My academic appointment as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics is through Ohio State University. I am a public health advocate for kids' health and safety. I am also the Emerging Media Editor for the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

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