Sports Medicine from South Africa — SASMA biennial congress begins this week!

Dr. Pierre Viviers, President of SASMA

It’s been a while since we have invited a sports medicine colleague to a “Five Questions with CJSM” interview.

What better time to catch up with the current President of the South African Medical Association (SASMA) than on the eve of SASMA’s biennial Congress?

My dear friend Dr. Pierre Viviers of Stellenbosch University is a very busy man right now as he places the final touches on what is sure to be one of the premier events of this year’s sports medicine calendar.  Having attended SASMA in 2015  in Johannesburg, I can attest to what an exciting and stimulating event this Congress is.

True to form, Dr. Viviers did not hesitate to volunteer for this interview when I reached out to him, despite his busy schedule.  I hope you enjoy our conversation and that it whets your appetite for what is coming later this week from Cape Town.  If you can’t be there, be sure to follow #SASMA2019 on social media.

And now….Dr. Viviers!

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  1. CJSM: The biennial Congress of SASMA is taking place 10 – 13 October 2019 in Cape Town, the “Mother City.” It is a joint Congress with SASMA and BRICSCESS.  Can you tell us about what you see as the highlights of the program, and for the readers unfamiliar with BRICSCESS can you tell us about that organization?

Pierre Viviers (PV): It is a joint congress which also includes the 6th Annual Congress on Medicine and Science in Ultra-Endurance Sport which will definitely be a highlight. The pre-congress workshops are always popular and well attended. This will include 2 full-day workshops presented by ‘Exercise is Medicine South Africa” (EIM SA) and SAIDS (SA Institute for Drug-free Sport), as well as a half-day workshop by the S.A Sport-Physiotherapy group.

A highlight for me personally, is the integrated participation between scientists and medical professionals throughout the program.

Opening the narrative of social justice and the role which sport can play, especially in a country like S.A, will be one of our most influential South Africans, Prof Thuli Madonsela, activist for social justice and human rights, previous public protector and advocate in the High Court of S.A.  This is definitely a session not to be missed.

The prestigious Noble lecture will be presented by a good friend and colleague, Cheri Blauwet from Harvard Medical School & Spaulding Rehab Hospital, Boston. Cheri’s journey in injury and illness prevention in the elite Paralympic athlete will be a certain highlight. A symposium later in the conference will be another highlight, focusing on “innovations in athletes with disability.”

The sport nutrition colloquium led by Louise Burke (Australia) and other prominent South Africans in the field is another highlight.

The featured science session on player welfare in rugby union as well as the featured clinical symposium on Sport Related Concussion will reveal interesting concepts in injury prevention and management in this popular South African collision sport.

The session on mental health in athletes presented by two leaders in the field will also give new insight in prevalent mental health issues which may influence athlete welfare and performance.

The BRICES countries are Brasilia, Russia, India, China and South Africa and BRICSCESS is the Council of Exercise and Sport Science founded to specifically look into health and wellness of people within these counties. However, this is there second international congress. The council also strives to bring communication together between the BRICS countries on issues influencing health and wellness through universities and other platforms. The Council is also dedicated to leadership development in young scientists within the field.

 

  1. CJSM: You are winding down your term as President of SASMA. What are the fondest memories of your past two years of service?  Who is the incoming President?

Read more of this post

Five Questions with Dr. Nick Peirce: The Role of Physical Activity and Sport in Mental Health

Dr. Nick Peirce, lead on the FSEM team producing recent exercise and mental health position statement.

Reduce depression and cognitive decline by up to 30% with regular exercise?  Can this be so?

For those of us ‘in the know’ in this field of sport and exercise medicine, that statement may seem understood.  But medical research translating to broadly held knowledge which then may lead to meaningful change:  well, we ALL know how rare that situation can be.  The management of recent concussion events in the FIFA World Cup reminds us of the difficulty of knowledge translation: there were instances where it seemed as if we were ‘partying like it’s 1999’ so to speak.

Reviews of the current state of evidence-based knowledge about medically important findings continue to be of vital importance in ‘getting the word out’.  In that spirit, we couldn’t be happier to see the recent position statement released by one of our partner societies, the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (UK) : The Role of Physical Activity and Sport in Mental Health.

The lead on the team of authors which produced this FSEM UK Position Statement is Dr. Nick Peirce, Chief Medical Officer of the England and Wales Cricket Board.  We wanted to pick his brain to get a bit more of the background work which resulted in this statement.  The summer Cricket season has kept Dr. Peirce occupied above and beyond his usual level of busyness.  During a gap between competitions, CJSM caught up with him — the results of our interview can be found here.

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1. CJSM: We want to discuss the new FSEM statement on the role of physical activity and sport in mental health, but first can you tell us a bit about yourself: your background as a sports medicine clinician and your involvement with FSEM?

NP: I have been involved in Sports and Exercise medicine for over 20 years having worked across a large number of Olympic and Professional sports, including Leading Sports Medicine for English Institute of Sport (EIS) at the busiest site in the country at Loughborough University, the Davis Cup team and the football team Nottingham Forest. I am a Hospital Consultant in Sport and Exercise Medicine in the NHS and have been Chief Medical Officer for the England Cricket for the more than 10 years. I have been involved in many of the Sports Societies and for 3 years have sat on the Faculty (FSEM), although professional sport commitments make this challenging.

2. CJSM: How did you become involved with this particular FSEM project on mental health – was there a large team involved in the production of this project? Was FSEM the only organization involved in the drafting of this document? Read more of this post

It’s a long way from Boston to Denver — 5 Questions with David Howell

David Howell, alongside one of many of the research posters he has produced

When I now think of my friend, David Howell, I have this beautiful John Denver song in my head:

It’s a long way from LA to Denver
It’s a long time to hang in the sky
It’s a long way home to Starwood in Aspen
A sweet Rocky Mountain paradise
Oh, my sweet Rocky Mountain paradise

Granted, David just moved to Denver from Boston, not LA, but I can’t separate the melody from his journey, and the visions I have of him hanging out in the Rockies…..

David Howell PhD, ATC–and the team of researchers with whom he most recently worked at Children’s Hospital, Boston–has been one of the more prolific authors for CJSM in the last several years.  This summer, he moved to Children’s Hospital, Colorado, where he continues the pioneering research into kids’ sports safety that has been the hallmark of his career.

As lead author of two recently published CJSM studies, he was a natural interview for this, our most recent blog post and contribution to the recurring “5 Questions with CJSM” column.

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1) CJSM just published your new study, “Near Point of Convergence and Gait Deficits in Adolescents after Sport-Related Concussion.”  What would you state are the most important, new contributions to the literature your team made with this study?  And are there specific take-home points that the practicing clinician can use in their assessment of concussed teenagers?

DH: The idea of combining visual and gait-based measures in patients with a concussion was a result of an interdisciplinary collaboration. I was fortunate to work alongside colleagues from optometry/ophthalmology (Aparna Raghuram PhD, OD, and Ankoor Shah, MD, PhD) and sports medicine (William Meehan, MD and Michael O’Brien, MD) on this study. Based on our discussions, we were interested in the value and association of instrumented gait measures and vergence measures, since both have documented value for use within concussion evaluations. Additionally, both tests were relatively easy to administer within the sport concussion clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital. Read more of this post

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