Athletes start the century as normal, healthy citizens, and end up as potentially unhealthy physiological 'freaks', while the general public are increasingly urged to do more exercise and play more sports. This book offers a comprehensive study, and social history, of the development of sports medicine in Britain, as practiced by British doctors and on British athletes in national and international settings. It describes how and why, in Britain, medicine applied to sport became first an area of expertise known as sports medicine, and then a formal medical specialty: Sport and Exercise Medicine. In the late nineteenth century, vigorous exercise was an acceptable, probably necessary, part of the moderate healthy lifestyle for the normal, healthy man. Consequently sports medicine was part and parcel of normal medical treatment, distinguishable only through its location or through its patient history. There was no wide-spread de facto scepticism about the value of vigorous exercise among physicians and scientists. The normality of the young male athlete is reconsidered between 1928 and 1952. At the end of the period, the athlete becomes an abnormal or supernormal human being who demands specialist medical interventions. The formation and work of British Association of Sport and (Exercise) Medicine, the Institute of Sports Medicine, the Sports Council, and the British Olympic Association's Medical Committee is discussed. The book finally discusses fitness. Normal life, war, elite competition gives us an insight into how athletic bodies are conceptualised, and how sports medicine has formed and reformed over a century.
conflicts are most pointedly told through Peter Sperryn’s uncompromising editorials in the British Journal of Sports Medicine , which criticise the Sports Council, the government and apathetic BAS(E)M members alike.
There is a certain irony, then, that it was BAS(E)M’s long-term rival, the InstituteofSportsMedicine, which perhaps finally enabled sports medicine to be recognised as a medical specialty in Britain. Both an ‘official’ and a probably apocryphal version of this story exist; both agree that the pivotal moment was a dinner held in 1996 to celebrate the
specialists – a model which clearly undermined the attempts by both BAS(E)M and the InstituteofSportsMedicine to produce a rigorous, academically respected science of a new sort of body. 12 In addition there was a proliferation of (often private) sports medicine centres, run by both doctors and auxiliary medical professionals such as physiotherapists. Some of these were set up by individuals who were not recognised as experts by BAS(E)M, leading to calls for systems to ‘officially’ recognise who was a sports medicine expert, and who was, to use their own language, just
dedicated to the collation and provision of specialist sports medicine advice, and it closes in 1970 with the Sports Council initiating a study into the feasibility of using taxpayers’ money to fund sports injuries clinics for the general public.
The intervening years saw a proliferation of organisations related to sports medicine ; after BAS(E)M in 1953 came the British Olympic Association’s Medical Committee (1959), the InstituteofSportsMedicine (1963), the Sports Council’s Research and Statistics Committee (1965), and other specialist organisations. 2 As a
boundaries, and claim authority in this newly significant medical field. Chapter 4 discusses the formation and work of BAS(E)M, the InstituteofSportsMedicine (ISM), the Sports Council, and the British Olympic Association’s Medical Committee. All these organisations claimed intellectual and financial territory within sports medicine, and therefore power over the athletic body. These boundary disputes were sometimes extremely acrimonious, and continued for the rest of the century, as Chapters 5 and 6 will show.
Having justified their expertise by an appeal to the
–63), and the Royal School of Medicine (President 1966–67). With respect to sports medicine, he sat on the British Olympic Council, and the International Olympic Committee, as well as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games Federation, BAS(E)M and the InstituteofSportsMedicine. Some of his direct influence in the UK was interrupted by his appointment as Governor General of New Zealand from 1967–72.
DF Gerrard, ‘The Lord Porritt – Obituary’ BJSM 28 (1994), 77–8.
P Sperryn, ‘The Lord Porrit – Obituary’ BJSM 28 (1994), 78. See also in LA Reynolds and EM