Guest Post: The History of Sports Medicine


Sports medicine, as you probably know, is the branch of medicine dealing with injuries and illnesses resulting from participation in sports and athletic activities. Very few people have never had their knee, leg, back, shoulder or hand injured as a consequence of playing sports. Luckily, today we can enjoy the benefits of many breakthroughs and rapid developments in this field. However, we should acknowledge that it has taken a long time to reach the present heights.

The beginnings

It is believed that sports medicine originated in ancient Greece and Rome at a time when victories in sporting competitions were almost equally valued as those on battlefields. The importance of winning competitions logically lead to the introduction of training first. Just like gladiators had to practice to keep in shape in order to improve their chances of staying alive, today’s athletes do the same, but for different reasons. Needless to say, those sessions back then were full of injuries and people started looking for ways to heal them. Greek physicians Herodicus and Galen were first to talk about the importance of reducing the risk of injury and they started using therapeutic exercise to heal injuries.


The progress

Truth be told, sports medicine wasn’t progressing at a great pace for quite a while. Great events, such as the Olympic Games, existed no longer and priorities were found elsewhere. Still, the rebirth of the Olympic movement and the games held in Athens in 1896 reignited the fire and boosted the profile of the profession. There has been no stopping ever since. Practitioners became better educated and professional networks grew. Particularly important was the International Hygiene Exhibition in Dresden in 1911, because its success led to the organization of the inaugural congress for physical exercise. The next important event took place in 1924, when the German Federation of Physicians for the Promotion of Exercise was established. This event is widely recognized as the birth of sports medicine as an organized profession.

Another milestone

When Dr. J.C. Kennedy organized a team of doctors to travel to the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City with the Canadian team, he actually started a revolution. No one before had brought together a team of doctors to ensure the health and top performance of athletes, but it’s now standard practice and, very often, the difference between winning and losing.

Where are we now?

Today, sports medicine is regarded as an extremely specialized and valued profession. Sports such as weightlifting put a lot of strain on the spine, which is why you need an expert in spinal surgeries, such as the famous Dr. Timothy Steel, to help you. Surgeons like him, who treat both athletes and those who don’t practice sport, are sought by everyone, from those who do not engage in physical activities to the most elite athletes in the world. Also, a lot of attention is paid to prevention. Technology is used to deal with combating and rehabilitating injuries. Take the bionic knee brace and cryo-therapy, for example. It’s an excellent example of how science is used to help athletes recover and heal quickly and perform to their full potential.


Benefits of sports medicine

There are many benefits of sports medicine. To begin with, it provides specialized care, where physicians with a specialization in sports medicine look after athletes and enthusiasts alike. They are fully aware of all aspects of practicing sports and, more importantly, the impact it has on an individual’s body. Next, there is the element of enhanced performance, where specialists draw up customized training plans to help athletes and amateurs maximize their potential. Such plans are based on an individual’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as on the requirements of the sport in question. Another benefit is the enhanced prevention of injuries, which is of paramount importance. Athletes receive instructions and directions regarding avoiding injuries or re-injuries of a previously damaged area. Better treatment should also be mentioned, since it’s always much wiser to consult a specialist in the field than rely on your gut feeling or advice you stumbled upon while browsing the internet. Don’t forget that sports medicine physicians and surgeons keep abreast with the latest developments and are constantly widening the scope of their knowledge and expertise.

In conclusion, we could safely say that sports medicine is not just for athletes and that amateurs and enthusiasts also greatly benefit from its development. Everyone who is actively engaged in sports, exercise or some other fitness activities should consult a sports medicine professional in order to get the right advice and treatment. With its role becoming increasingly important, chances are we’ll soon see even greater progress in the field, especially when we take into account that individuals are also becoming more health conscious.

Author Bio:

Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to home improvement, DIY and interior design. In her free time she enjoys reading and preparing healthy meals for her family.

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