5 Questions with Phatho Zondi, SASMA President

Dr. Phathokuhle Zondi, outgoing President of the South African Sports Medicine Association

For one of this blog’s recurring ‘columns,’ I’m pleased to have as our guest today Phathokuhle Zondi, a sports medicine physician, the CEO of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, and the current president of the South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA).

I have known Phatho for two years now, and consider her a close friend as well as an esteemed colleague in the world of sports medicine.  I met her when, two years ago, I was able to attend the biennial convocation of SASMA, held in Johannesburg in 2015. She was at the time the president-elect of SASMA.  Fast forward two years, and she is completing her term, with a body of work that is culminating with the 2017 convocation.

I wanted to catch up with her on the eve of this conference to get ‘up to speed’ on the sports medicine (and sports) scene in South Africa.  In the midst of her busy life, Phatho graciously obliged.

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1. CJSM: The South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA) is having its biennial convocation this October in Cape Town. I was privileged to attend the 2015 meeting in Johannesburg.  What are some of the highlights of the upcoming 2017 meeting?

PZ: We’re thrilled about the Congress this year and are confident that we will continue to raise the bar as we do every year. Some highlights include:

  • Pre- Congress Workshops – physiotherapy, Exercise is Medicine and Fieldside Emergency Care.
  • More than 15 confirmed International speakers
  • Clinical themes including
    • Paediatric Sports Medicine
    • Paralympic Medicine
    • The Female Athlete
    • Sports Specific Sessions
    • Load & Injury Management
  • Hands on Muskuloskeletal sonar course

2. CJSM: You have been the President of SASMA for the past two years, and your term is coming to an end in October. What have been some of the more memorable experiences you’ve enjoyed during your service?  What do you see as some of the challenges SASMA faces in the next two+ years?

Some major players on the S African sports medicine scene (L to R), Jon Patricios, Ross Tucker, Wayne Viljoen, Phatho Zondi

PZ: Getting to know and better understand the wider SEM community in South Africa has been particularly valuable in my journey – having deeper interactions at a Governance level with allied health professionals has improved my appreciation of the multidisciplinary team. A definite highlight has also been the various engagements I have had with students and rising stars in our field.   In the next few years, SASMA will need to formalize some of the structures within the organization in order to ensue that we continue support and meaningfully serve a growing membership.

3. CJSM: Recently you moved from Pretoria to Cape Town to become the CEO of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA). This was quite a career change for you.  What’s a typical day in the life of a CEO? Read more of this post

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