SportsKongres 2019 — An Overview Courtesy of Dr. Sheree Bekker

SportsKongres 2019, Copenhagen Denmark

Readers of this blog may be familiar with one of CJSM’s recurring collaborators, Dr. Sheree Bekker.  Dr. Bekker is a researcher in injury prevention at the University of Bath, UK,. She is, as well, an outspoken advocate raising awareness of the challenges faced by women in the field of sport medicine.  Finally, Sheree is a friend, and someone who is very active on Twitter:  a definite follow if you are in sport & exercise medicine and are reading this post!

I was following closely her tweets from the recent sportskongres in Copenhagen — what sounds like a fantastic conference just wrapped, and the buzz is on already for #SportsKongres2020.  Dr. Bekker graciously accepted my invitation to share her thoughts on the recent conference.  Enjoy, and hope to see you in Copenhagen in 2020!


Dr. Sheree Bekker

Sheree Bekker, PhD

The 2019 edition of the Scandinavian Sports Medicine Congress has wrapped. Colloquially known by just a single name (as all the most famous people are, see: Serena, LeBron), sportskongres has, time and again, been billed by the British Journal of Sports Medicine as one of the Big 5.

This was my first sportskongres (full disclosure: I was an invited speaker), and from afar my biggest impressions of this conference were that the social program is legendary (spoiler: this is true), and that the focus is on clinically-relevant presentations and workshops (also true). Knowing that the majority of delegates at sportskongres are clinicians, I found an audience eager to learn from different disciplines and areas, an audience hungry for new insights and understandings as to what they are seeing and experiencing in everyday practice, and – most of all – an audience highly engaged in doing better.

All kudos and congratulations must go to scientific co-chairs Assistant Professor Merete Møller and Professor Per Aargard for a high-quality and innovative programme. Further to this, their explicit focus on gender parity – from the composition of the organising committee through to invited speakers – contributed greatly to raising both quality and innovation across the conference. In my opinion, the way that the program was crafted really aided audience engagement in and through new and different conversations.

Three sessions in particular reflect this, in that they dealt with the kind of content that I have not yet seen enough of at sports medicine conferences.

1) The first was a symposium titled Injury prevention works – how do we put it into action? and the reason it was so innovative and insightful was the inclusion of athlete Line Jørgensen (Danish National team handball player) and coach Jan Barslev. Their perspectives on injury prevention were unparalleled. I will admit that I think they outshone the rest of us on that panel (me, Prof. Evert Verhagen, Dr. Alli Gokeler, with As. Prof Merete Møller as chair). Well worth it.

This symposium also included a quick audience participation poll, and the results matched the panel consensus that the biggest driver for injury prevention is passion.

2) The second innovative session was the symposium “Celebrating Failures: How to make success out of misses” with Prof. Bill Vicenzino, Prof. Ann Cools, and Prof. Grethe Myklebust, with As. Prof. Merete Møller as chair. Each openly shared their experiences with failure over their careers, from publishing and funding through to clinical ‘failures’ and the lessons learned. This session felt like a collective sigh of relief, and that it was refreshing to be in a wickedly funny session after two days of serious conferencing. Well worth it and I hope we see more of this in the future.

3) The third was the symposium “Ethics, funding and impact: How to overcome problems in research?” with Dr. Ingrid Eitzen, Prof. Karim Khan, Dr. Clare Ardern, and me, with Dr. Hege Grindem as chair. This session shifted the buoyant mood of the conference somewhat to, importantly, interrogating our own research and practice. In my opinion, this is part of what makes our work better and holding space for these conversations is imperative. In my own talk, I shared two minutes [29:25-31:35] from the recent CJSM podcast episode with Dr. Esther Choo “From Mansplaining to Bromotion — How We Can Move the Needle on Gender Bias in Sports Medicine”, and feel (hope) it created a highly poignant moment for reflection on our own practice. More of this please, sports medicine. We need to be having these conversations, and I am so pleased to see that this theme will be continuing at the IOC World Conference on the Prevention Of Injury & Illness In Sport 2020.

The rest of the conference program, from the keynote by Prof. Bill Vicenzino Managing common tendinopathies with injection, exercise, education, or waiting it out: what works?” (which included qualitative research!), through to “Reducing the burden of concussion in youth sport: Moving upstream towards primary prevention” by Prof. Carolyn Emery was thought-provoking, insightful, and relevant to clinicians and non-clinicians alike.

So, why attend sportskongres 2020?

As BJSM tweeted:

  1. Big 5
  2. 800+ engaged clinicians and leaders
  3. Friendly, very welcoming, hygge
  4. English language
  5. Food
  6. Best program (added by Marinus Winters)
  7. Workshops
  8. Copenhagen

As for wider relevance? I couldn’t put it better than the physical therapists Drs. Karen Litzy and Sarah Haag in their Instagram post:


A massive thank you must go to conference organisers Jesper Pedersen and Simon Døssing and the behind-the-scenes team:




All in all, I had an incredible few days at sportskongres. I presented three sessions in three days to my largest and most engaged audiences yet (!), met so many of my research (read: Twitter!) connections in real life for the first time, had really useful conversations that will lead to some exciting new collaborations, and (of course) had All The Fun at the party. Reality totes lived up to the hype.

Scandi hospitality at its best.

‘Til next year.

Thank you to sportskongres for bringing me to this conference as an invited speaker. This blog post was separately commissioned for CJSM (by Dr. Jim MacDonald).


Thank you Dr. Bekker, very much!!!  And we’re so glad you referenced Dr. Choo’s work in your post — to any of you haven’t heard Dr. Choo’s powerful podcast interview with CJSM, check it out here. 


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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