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

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The little differences — sports medicine training in the UK

Dawn Thompson, our Junior Assoc Editor from BASEM, on a UK NICU floor!!!

Our Junior Associate editor from the British Association for Sport and Exercise Medicine (BASEM)— Dawn Thompson–joins us today with her newest contribution to the CJSM blog. As many of our regular readers know, Dr. Thompson is a sport and exercise medicine (SEM) trainee in the UK and has contributed frequently to these blog pages.

Her blog post today takes up the subject of how different SEM training can be in different sites around the world.  In the USA, where I practice, one gets their primary training in a specialty such as family medicine, emergency medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, or physical medicine & rehabilitation; only then does one pursue one to two years of further specialty training in sports medicine.  New Zealand and Australia follow a very different path, as explained by the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians (ACSEP) in their website.

The UK does it their own way, and Dr. Thompson (DT) is here to tell us what that is like as she spends time on the ‘sidelines’ of the…..neonatal intensive care unit!???

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DT: It’s been a busy year and a while since my last post. Once again it’s a crazy time of the morning (4am) and I’m in the midst of an unusually quiet 12.5 hour shift on the neonatal intensive care unit wondering how exactly this is going to make me a better sports physician! I’m not sure I have found the answer to that one yet but it has inspired me to think about the current state of SEM training.

Over the last 10-20 years sports and exercise medicine as its own specialty around the world has come on leaps and bounds. The UK Faculty for Sports and Exercise Medicine (FSEM) was set up in 2005 and is the governing body for SEM overseeing the training curriculum in the UK. The system in the UK is quite different to many other parts of Europe and the pathway seems to vary greatly between country and even between different states. Read more of this post

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