5 Questions with Dr. Matthew Gammons, AMSSM President

Dr. Matt Gammons, outgoing AMSSM president. Photo courtesy http://www.rrmc.org

May — we’ve already arrived in May.

One-third of the way through 2017; I can’t believe it.

But it’s really here, and with this new month comes one of the premier fixtures of the annual American sports medicine calendar:  the AMSSM 26th Annual Meeting, to be held in San Diego.

The meeting each year represents, among so many other things, a time for the organization to come together and witness the changing of the guard:  the end of the term for one president, and the beginning for another.

This year AMSSM will be sending off Dr. Matt Gammons, who has served admirably since the Dallas meeting in 2016.  We caught up with him just before he was taking off from his home in the Green Mountains of Vermont to head to the sunny shores of the Pacific to ask him how his year went, suss out his Tweeting skills, and learn what it’s like to be lost in Chile.

Read on!


1. CJSM: How did your year as AMSSM president go? What were the high points? Did you face any significant challenges this year?

Matt Gammons (MG): Overall the year was great. I really like the way we run our executive committee. I had 2 years to learn the ropes from the presidents before me (Drs. Chris Madden and Jon Divine) before taking over. Their leadership and wisdom made me feel more comfortable moving into the president position. In addition our staff is wonderful. They make the process much more streamlined, and they were my real lifeline. There is no way I could have done this job without them.

While our organization has many things to be proud of I think getting the Collaborative Research Network up and going along with hiring our research director, Stephanie Kliethermes, is fantastic.  Moving forward this will allow our organization to do some amazing work in the field of sports medicine.  Organizationally, the biggest challenge we have is our growing size. While it’s a great problem in many ways it presents many challenges for our leadership given the diversity of specialties and practice types. Personally, like all of us, I struggled to balance my work for AMSSM, my day job (yup I have one of those) and my family. Thank goodness my wife is a patient woman!


2) CJSM: You are a team physician for USA Ski/Snowboarding. How long have you held this position? Tell us about one or more of your favorite memories as Team Doc?

MG:  I began working with the team in 2005. It has really been a great honor and opportunity to work with the amazing athletes on the team. There have been lots of great memories including being the event physician for the Women’s Alpine World Cup Race at Killington last year (first competition in the east since the late seventies) but my most memorable trip was my first one.  I flew to Santiago, Chile to cover a camp/competition with the US Snowboard team. I was supposed to meet the team at the airport and ride with them to the mountain. My flight however got delayed so when I arrived they were not there and neither was my luggage. I had no information about where they were going.  I had no cellphone, no winter gear and no idea what to do.  I jumped in a cab and asked them to take me to the ski resort, not realizing there was more than one. After a few hours of driving around I eventually managed to find the team but for a while there I thought I was going to be lost in the Chilean Mountains with just a backpack.  It was a good lesson and I learned to do a little research prior to my trips.

3) CJSM: What are your research interests, and do you have any active investigations?

MG: My main research interests are sports trauma, concussion and injury prevention – specific to load management.  Research can be tough in small community setting so we like to focus on clinical questions that affect our daily practice. We are currently starting a project looking at the inter-rater reliability for concussion diagnosis between physicians and athletic trainers. Given the complexities involved in the diagnosis of concussion and its symptom overlap with other conditions we feel we need to go back to basics and see if we all get on the same page before trying to answer more questions about these injuries.

4) CJSM: If you had to compose a 140 character Tweet for Twitter describing what your winter professional life is like near the Vermont snowfields, what would it say?

MG:  ”The Green Mountains turn white creating joy for winter outdoor enthusiasts and business for sports medicine physician.” (CJSM: Say, you’re good at composing  < 140 characters! What’s your Twitter handle?)

5) CJSM: At the AMSSM annual meeting in San Diego, your term as president will end and you’ll be stepping down. Katherine Dec will assume the mantle of AMSSM president.  What advice would you give her for the coming year? 

MG: Kathy does need much advice from me. Her previous work as treasurer and now moving through the executive committee has given her a great head start.  My only advice to her is to remember that no decision we make is without unforeseen issues so we should make the best choice we can and accept that there will likely be some negative consequences.


Thanks Matt for taking the time.  I especially liked your ‘lost in translation’ moment in Chile.

CJSM is looking forward to seeing President Gammons pass the baton to President Dec at AMSSM 2017 in San Diego.  And we’re hoping we’ll see you there too.  Visit us at the exhibitor’s booth we’ll have, and follow @cjsmonline on Twitter while you’re on the ground to get the newest insight into what’s happening at #AMSSM17.

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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