AMSSM 2015 Travelling Fellowship — Chapter One


It’s a dog’s life as an AMSSM Travelling Fellow — Middelvlei Farm Winery. Photo: Dr. Alison BrooksIt’s a dog’s lifeThat is what I have been living over the last ten days.

It’s a dog’s life.

That’s what I have been living the last ten days.

I have been travelling through the country of South Africa as one of the 2015 travelling fellows of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM).  I have had the privilege of sharing this journey with one of AMSSM’s founders, Dr. Doug McKeag, and one of the organization’s bright young starts, Dr. Alison Brooks.


One American’s contribution to Springboks’ pride

We have all enjoyed the extraordinary beauty and hospitality of our hosts.  We’ve given talks (and drunk excellent wine) at Stellenbosch University, outside of Cape Town, as we visited Dr. Pierre Viviers. We’ve done similar ‘work’ (talks and, yes, more wine) at the rival University of Pretoria, where we have been hosted by Drs. Phatho Mondi and Christa Janse van Rensburg. We spoke both to students of the university and, in a separate session, to sports medicine clinicians at the University’s affiliated High Performance Centre. At each place we’ve seen extraordinary sports medicine work being done and have been exposed to sports ranging from cricket to rugby–in the latter case we’ve found ourselves shifting allegiances (rooting for the ‘Maties’ in Stellenbosch and the ‘Tuks’ in Pretoria); we’ve watched professional Currie Cup rugby live and Springboks Rugby World Cup games in a sea of national green and gold surrounding televised feed.


Drs. Carl Askling & Phatho Zondi (SASMA president-elect) enjoying some time together before SASMA2015

It has already been an extraordinary journey, but it will not end until we have enjoyed the three packed days of the 16th biennial congress of the South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA), the highlight of our trip.  Among the speakers will be Sweden’s Carl Askling, the premier voice on the management of athletic hamstring injuries.  Carl has become one of the many new friends I have made on this trip, as we’ve shared some close encounters of the elephant kind on safari.

From “Learners to Leaders,” that’s the theme of SASMA2015, and for sure South African sports medicine is in the lead in so many respects.  I look forward to meeting so many more people associated with sports medicine in Johannesburg.

There is so much more I could write, but I’m very very busy……well, um, in a special kind of way.  Indeed, I need to do some last minute preparations on my several talks for SASMA, and there is the ever-present email inbox where some work from overseas still calls my attention overseas.  And, yes, there is the ‘work’ of getting ready to view more African wildlife and enjoy more of the superb culture and food that this special country has to offer.  Such are the true joys the AMSSM Travelling Fellowship has to offer.

I know this will not be the last post I will be filing from this visit, as I will be sure to have some in depth sports medicine content to share as the SASMA proceedings progress.

And so until next time:  Totsiens, Hambani Kahle, Good bye!


The End

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 Deputy Editor for the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

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