ECOSEP in Dubai

The Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world — among the dazzling sights in Dubai

Our intrepid Junior Associate Editor, Dawn Thompson, has been busy not only with her training but also her travels:  she recently attended the ECOSEP Congress in Dubai, where she was Tweeting her thoughts in real time.  At last having the chance to catch her breath in between the demands of the registrar’s life, she shares with us a post on the congress’ proceedings.


If you are a follower of CJSM on twitter you may recall that back in December I attended the 5th Congress of the European College of Sports and Exercise Physicians (ECOSEP) in Association with FIFA in Dubai. Somehow it’s now a new year and January is already behind us – if only there were a magic button to stop time and give me a few extra hours in each day! Now, with a few quiet moments to myself’ I wanted to reflect on what was a great conference with plenty on offer for anyone involved in Sports and Exercise Medicine.

This was the first International Sports Medicine Conference held in Dubai, with experts from around the world meeting at this central hub.  During the congress one speaker described it as a huge step forward for the future of Sports Medicine in Dubai: a country in which sports physicians normally have to travel to other continents to get the opportunity to learn from leaders in the field. The event was held at Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, and there was a real sense of pride from all the staff who had worked tirelessly to make it a success. With the FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence already based in Dubai, I really hope the success of this event will prompt more organisations to consider Dubai when looking for a central location for a worldwide conference.

Dr. Thompson at the podium, ECOSEP Dubai

It was also the first ECOSEP Congress to hold a careers talk and discussion of trainee opportunities as well as a junior doctors workshop – run by myself as part of the ECOSEP Junior Doctors Committee. This was a chance for trainees to ask questions on SEM in a low-key environment and learn more about this important specialty. Juniors are the future of the specialty, and ECOSEP prides itself on helping to nurture and develop young doctors who will carry forth the work of SEM.

The two-day conference covered a wide range of Sports Medicine topics including environmental considerations in SEM, hamstring injuries, tendon injuries, the challenges of a team doctor, exercise as a preventative measure and more. I was also lucky to have the opportunity to co-chair one of two sessions on Sports Dentistry. In another first for ECOSEP, this was one of the first times Sports Dentistry had been given two dedicated sessions at a mainstream SEM congress. I was fascinated to learn of the impact dental health and poor dentition can have on performance – an often overlooked area in elite or semi-pro athletes. Not only can poor oral health affect performance and return to play but as a cohort, elite athletes are at higher risk of dental decay due to consumption of high energy drinks.  In 2016 CJSM published an article on the approach to mouthguard use and traumatic dental injuries in junior rugby, which was another topic discussed during the congress. The findings of this study would suggest that more education of athletes on this area is also required with only 68.2% of athletes wearing mouthguards and 35.7% believing they do not work. Certainly, data presented in Dubai seemed to agree with this and suggested that custom mouthguards may be more acceptable to athletes as opposed to the classical ‘bite and boil’ mouthguard.

Dr. Dawn Thompson (middle) and colleagues, at ECOSEP Dubai

I could go on for some time discussing everything I learnt over these two days in December, but I think that’s enough from me for the time being.  In the meantime, keep your eyes pealed for ECOSEP’s next congress which will be held Autumn 2019 – lets just hope it lives up to its predecessors high standards!


Thanks Dawn for sharing your thoughts in this post, and on @CJSMonline on Twitter when you are live at these events!!!!  We’ll be hearing from you soon, we hope.

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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