A South African Trek

Deputy Editor Jim MacDonald with Co-Presenters at IFSEMC, Winile Mothsoane (Left) and Phatho Zondi (center)

I’m coming off one of the most exceptional experiences of my professional life, and I want to share the good news about sports & exercise medicine in southern Africa.

A week ago, I was in Pretoria South Africa at the International Festival of Sports, Exercise and Medicine Conference (IFSEMC).  I was sponsored by one of CJSM’s Affiliated Societies — the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM).

The AMSSM has been gracious enough to sponsor me in the past when I traveled in 2015 to South Africa to attend the South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA) biennial conference.  I wrote about that experience in this same blog seven years ago.

On this visit, the conference was a true festival — a joint venture put on by SASMA, the Biokinetics Association of South Africa (BASA), the African Physical Activity Network and The South African Society of Biomechanics.

There is still so much I am processing from this visit, but I’d like to share with you some of the highlights after first encouraging you to do these things:

a) pencil in October 2024 in your calendar.  You must make an effort to come down to Cape Town for the upcoming biennial SASMA conference (dates and agenda full to be determined);

b) follow SASMA and BASA on Twitter if you don’t already; you’ll learn so much.

Now, a few of those highlights. Read more of this post

Hello Dallas!


Current president of the South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA) Phathokuhle Zondi (L) & AMSSM member Alison Brooks enjoying Dallas

I’m in Dallas for the annual American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) scientific conference, and I would typically be sharing a photo of the town in this post.  There is the small problem of a veritable tsunami of rain doing its best to keep me indoors.

I have no complaints.

AMSSM is celebrating its 25th year, and it has every reason to pat itself on the back.  The conference it’s putting on right now (hashtag: #AMSSM16) is so well put together that I am quite happy I do not have a pleasant, sunny day tempting me to head outdoors.  I’d much rather be inside catching all the proceedings.

Among the especially interesting aspects of the conference are the research and case study abstracts being presented both in poster-form and as podium lectures.  Our on-line version of the March 2016 issue has these abstracts available and there is some very interesting sports medicine information to be found there.  I am actually presenting a case on spinal muscular atrophy in a high school runner later this afternoon, and I’ve been listening to some other very interesting talks all through the day.


The AMSSM “Wall of Honor,” giving a shout out to so many of the members who have contributed to the organization’s success

The keynote talks are emphasizing the all-important value of collegiality in our profession, and I couldn’t agree more. Read more of this post

#SocialMedia + #SportsMedicine = #PerfectMatch

Sheree Bekker

Sheree Bekker, ACRISP

The power of social media in our field, the field of sports medicine — it has been something I have written about from time to time.  It’s something I have lectured about, too, on several occasions:  at American College of Sports Medicine(ACSM) meetings as well as at a recent National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) meeting.

I think there are, indisputably, a number of reasons someone in our field should get on Twitter, or should identify a blog or podcast to follow…..Among those reasons: i) there exists an extraordinarily flexible, responsive, and timely method of staying abreast of ‘breaking’ news in our world; ii) there is a unique way of curating the research one cares about; and iii) there is the ability to have conversations and network with peers from around the globe.  No limits in space and time to the #SportsMedicine community that exists on #SocialMedia channels.

All that said, I also think Social Media does not exist apart from ‘real relationships’.  That is, in my judgment, the relationships formed in Social Media are grounded in the chance that they can be made physically real.  Social Media alone will not replace a handshake, or a face-to-face conversation at a conference. But Social Media can be that introductory acquaintance that can blossom into a more collaborative relationship when two colleagues finally meet.

Sheree Bekker — aka @ACRISPFedUni [The Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention], aka @shereebekker — represents, for me, precisely that sort of person, that sort of relationship  I first made her acquaitnace via her Twitter feeds. Then I was blown away by a  blog post she authored after her participation in a Mayo Clinic Healthcare and Social Media Summit in Australia.  And, finally, I met her.  The ‘real’ her, and not a Twitter avatar! Turns out that Sheree is originally from Botswana, and she was in southern Africa for a visit home and a swing through the South African Sports Medicine Association meeting in Johannesburg (SASMA2015) which I recently attended, as well.  From “Learners to Leaders,” that was the theme of SASMA2015; those of you who follow this blog know full well what a smashing success that conference was.

When Sheree came up to introduce herself to me in Johannesburg, well, it was like meeting an old friend.  And rather quickly, we decided we needed to do a joint blog post about Social Media and its place in the Sports Medicine world.

In the spirit of collaboration, here is Sheree, to talk more about how, in particular, Social Media can play a role in turning “Learners” into “Leaders.”


Sheree Bekker: It is no secret that I am a big fan of slightly obsessed with the opportunity that social media affords emerging researchers to cultivate a voice in their field. I first shared my story of how I landed my international PhD scholarship through a Twitter connection in ‘Why you should use Twitter during your PhD’, and mused about how social media may play an even larger role in our academic careers than we realize (as an aside, today I would say: social media does play a large role in our careers – whether we want it to or not, whether we engage or not – this will become evident as you read on). I received an overwhelming response from post-graduate researchers on this post – and it soon became obvious that the common theme in these responses was that it was the sense of community and connection that draws people to social media. I also learned that those of us working in sports medicine are indeed very lucky, as our field has been an early and enthusiastic adopter of social media – and it can be disheartening for people in other fields to join the conversation eagerly, only to find that ‘I am stuck in a Twitter-desert, help!

Personally, as a current ‘learner’, I have found that Twitter has been invaluable in facilitating connections. One of the SASMA2015 sessions discussed the concept of ‘building a network’, which can often be highly intimidating for emerging researchers to do. How do I approach someone whose work I admire? What will we talk about? Read more of this post

Scientific Meetings


Carl Askling (L) & Phatho Zondi (R)

As those of you who follow CJSM on this blog and on our other social media will know, I have of late been enjoying the South African Sports Medicine Association’s 16th biennial congress (SASMA2015).  I am on the plane heading back home, and my head is swimming with what are now memories of some wonderful lectures and social experiences I enjoyed during my time in Johannesburg.

My ‘real world’ of clinical sports medicine, teaching and research await.  My ‘real world’ is where I hope, in my own way, I am making direct contributions to sports medicine:  where I can truly ‘care’ for athlete/patients and ‘create’ content from which others may learn.

But how enjoyable it is to punctuate my professional life with the chance to ‘recreate’ with peers in this special world—to break bread (and drink wine), share ideas and concerns from some great minds.  I return from such meetings re-energized for my real world, with new approaches to common problems [the dancers under my care will be benefitting from the knowledge I gained on hamstring injuries from ECOSEP’s Carl Askling, for instance]. And I return having made new friendships, including that of SASMA’s new president, Dr. Phatho Zondi.

This is an appropriate moment then to have one of our editors weigh in on her own experiences with a conference she attended recently.  I give you  Dawn Thompson, a physician who will share some of what she learned in Barcelona this month.


for cjsm blog HT

Camp Nou–home of FC Barcelona [and a recent ECOSEP conference]

It has been some time since my first blog on the use of ultrasound in musculoskeletal medicine and I have been mulling over what topics I not only have the authority to write on but also would be interesting to fellow readers and trainee doctors.

Last week I attended “Muscle and Tendon – Inspiring Clinical Excellence” conference in Barcelona organised by Muscletech and the European College Of Sports and Exercise Medicine (ECOSEP). Read more of this post

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