Catching my breath


Part of the large contingent coming to #ACSM16 from South Africa. Photo courtesy of Phatho Zondi, current SASMA president.

I am just coming up for air after three days here in Boston, where I (and thousands of other sports medicine professionals) are attending the 2016 annual conference of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Every year at this time I will make the pilgrimage to San Diego or Orlando or other spots in these big United States to attend this big, big conference.  Each year I leave with my brain chock full of new ideas and my bag chock full of business cards; as I step back to gain some perspective on the experience I am overwhelmed by the size and scope of the conference.  I am not complaining when I declare that it is simply not possible to attend every session one would want.  I am, rather, merely making a statement of fact!

So, like the proverbial dog trying to drink out of a gushing fire hydrant, I am doing targeted nipping at the flow of information rushing before me, and I want to share, in a most definitely non-comprehensive way, a few of the impressions I am left with as the conference heads into its penultimate day.

martin schwellnus

Slide photo courtesy of Martin Schwellnus

First, it’s been great to catch up with a host of South African colleagues, ranging from Martin Schwellnus, Wayne Derman and Jon Patricios, to current South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA) president Phatho Zondi, Pierre Viviers and Christa Janse vanRensburg.  It’s tremendous to see these folks and realize the great distance they have come to contribute to the ACSM proceedings.  In terms of contribution, they most definitely ‘punch about their weight’:  one of the sessions I attended was Dr. Schwellnus’ lecture on Exercise Associated Muscle Cramping (EAMC), a subject about which we publish quite frequently at CJSM.  I learned a tremendous amount from that talk, and I am sharing one of the slides from his talk for which he gave permission to be photographed.

There are many other international attendees at ACSM.  I have seen my friend and fellow CJSM editor Hamish Osborne, who arrived from Dunedin, New Zealand (bringing to my mind the very real possibility that ACSM should start betting operation taking propositions on who will win the “Conference attendee who has travelled the furthest” award).  I have heard Chinese, Italian and French spoken.

jim at kd poster

I hope some people learned from me, as I have learned from them!

And in my own talks, I have been asked insightful questions from attendees stepping up to the microphone from the Netherlands, Israel and beyond.  On this visit to #ACSM16 I have enjoyed talking about the development of a pediatric exercise vital sign; the risks and rewards inherent in modern youth sports; and an investigation into the King-Devick test for concussion assessment.  As always, when I give these talks I walk away learning so much from those who have taken the time to attend them.  Courtesy of some insightful questions asked of me, I am now busily reading about the psychology of ‘perceived motor competence’ in children and am reading about the sociology of gender roles and expectations in youth sports.

There is plenty more to learn, and there are plenty more sessions and social events to attend.  Tonight I hope to catch up with so many of my friends from the Harvard sports medicine scene, as Drs. Katherine Ackerman and Lyle Micheli are hosting a cocktail party.   I have not decided if my next blog post may include photos from that event — I intend for this to be a scientific journal’s blog, not Gawker!

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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