Dreams of South Africa
September 20, 2016 1 Comment
It was just a year ago that I was preparing to travel to South Africa on an American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) Travelling Fellowship — dreams of Cape Town and safaris danced in my mind [see post reblogged below].
I haven’t stopped dreaming of South Africa. Should I ever have a mental lapse and not think of the Rainbow Nation for a day or two, I have only to turn to my Twitter feed or my medical journals to be reminded — the country punches well above its weight in both sports and sports medicine. I enjoy reading of the exploits of current South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA) President Phathokuhle Zondi as she takes care of Paralympic athletes in Rio, for instance — she is a definite follow on Twitter….
And I most certainly enjoyed reading some recent rugby research just published in our September 2016 CJSM: Incidence and Factors Associated With Concussion Injuries at the 2011 to 2014 South African Rugby Union Youth Week Tournaments. It was a delight to read this epidemiological study, whose authors include good friends Sharief Hendricks, Clint Redhead, and Wayne Viljoen — researchers all of whom most definitely have made their mark internationally.
In the authors’ words, the “….study provides the first published incidence of concussion, per player-match-hours, in South African youth rugby union and falls well within what was previously published elsewhere for youth rugby.” They found the incidence of concussion in youth rugby to be 6.8/1000 player match-hours. Importantly, and what for me was new information, was that under-13s and under-16s had higher incidence rates than under-18s. The younger kids were at greater risk for concussion. This may have important implications for rules and policy making in youth rugby.
For anyone with an interest in rugby, or South African sports and sports medicine, the study, in our newest edition of CJSM, is a definite read. And it’s never too early to start dreaming of the 2017 SASMA biennial congress, which will take place in Cape Town 2017. To stay ‘in the know’ for the timing and details of that pre-eminent conference, follow President Phathokuhle Zondi and SASMA itself on Twitter.
We all know this, whether in our personal lives or in our interactions with the world at large. There is the NFL player who is torn between performance on Sunday and ‘being there’ for his young daughter with leukemia. There are cases where the athlete him- or herself is felled with illness–think of Lou Gehrig and amyotrophic sclerosis. The issues of who won the last game, the intricacies of a salary negotiation, or the season missed from a knee injury pale in comparison with such ‘real world’ contingencies.
In sports medicine we sometimes experience directly the intersection between serious illness and athletics. I think immediately of the young gymnast I saw with anterior knee pain that turned out not to be Osgood-Schlatter’s but osteogenic sarcoma of the tibia…….a ‘game changing’ event…
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