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.
the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Athens, 2004.
The early historyof sports medicine in the USA, as written by sports medicine professionals, usually concentrates on the work of physiologists at the turn of the century who used marathon runners as guinea pigs, and the later activity of the Harvard Fatigue Laboratory in the 1920s and 1930s. 12 Without doubt the practice of college athletics and the arrangement of international teams in the USA in the first half of the twentieth century was more ordered and competitive (and lucrative) than any
of the early twentieth century that some in the world of sport were seeking a scientific ‘edge’.
Enhancement brings us to a particular complaint in the historyofmedicine, which is the invisibility to the historian of many healing practices. Much sports medicine is self-treatment, and often goes unremarked or unrecorded. We may occasionally stumble upon reports of a cyclist’s decision to suck barley sugar on a long ride, or a Saturday footballer’s use of a home-made poultice for a sprain, but these are exceptions. Likewise, in the area of treatment, practice is
specialty: Sport and Exercise Medicine.
What is sports medicine?
Historiesof disciplines or professions always risk becoming teleological. In seeking origins it is easy to develop a sense of inevitability about the development of some activities, while anything that is not part of modern practice can be judged as ill-conceived, a detour away from the ‘real story’ and simply irrelevant. Sports medicine was recognised as a formal specialty in the UK in 2005, and gained its first British organisation – the British Association of Sport and (Exercise) Medicine (BAS
, ‘Sports Medicine’ Lancet 276 ( 1960 ), 1144.
6 ‘It is natural to ask whether there are any fixed limits to athletic performance and physical endurance. History – including the climbing of Everest last year – suggest that there are not.’ Anon, ‘A Great Runner’ BMJ 1 ( 1954 ), 1143.
7 British political attempts to present British sport (particularly British ‘amateurism’) as a third way between the state-sponsored gymnasts of the USSR and the hot-housed American college athletes are discussed elsewhere. P Beck, ‘Britain and the Cold War’s “Cultural Olympics
the Association’s history. 122
The insurance scheme offered by Bowring fell through, and although the BATS managed to attract perhaps up to 200 members, and ran for several years, attendance at its AGMs was sometimes less than 10% of the membership. 123 But the desire for a society which would specifically protect the needs of doctors in sports medicine was apparently strong; in 1982 a ‘Registered Medical Practitioners Sub-Committee’ was formed within BAS(E)M, to consider the formation of a central – possibly federal – sports medicine organisation. Such an
complex and formative time in the historyof sports medicine. National and global events – a war, a nationalised health service – impacted upon the structure, function and selfconceptualisation of British sport and British medicine. Yet even in this confusion there are still some patterns which can be drawn out. Of greatest significance to this account is the emergence of a professional group of specialists in sports medicine. These men came from a range of disciplines and fields – they were doctors, physiologists, orthopaedic surgeons, ex-athletes, coaches, trainers
Blood in the historyof modern
Scientific knowledge about the human body has been changing rapidly since
the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. Generated by professional
elites – doctors and scientists – this new knowledge appears in popular culture
in ways that are shaped by that culture.1 This chapter investigates how new
understandings of the human body were negotiated in Chinese culture during the century between 1850 and 1950, by using a single body fluid, blood,
as a case study. This period has been
In contemporary forensic medicine, in India, the label of complete autopsy applies to a
whole range of post-mortem examinations which can present consid- erable differences in
view of the intellectual resources, time, personnel and material means they involve. From
various sources available in India and elsewhere, stems the idea that, whatever the type
of case and its apparent obviousness, a complete autopsy implies opening the abdomen, the
thorax and the skull and dissecting the organs they contain. Since the nineteenth century,
procedural approaches of complete autopsies have competed with a practical sense of
completeness which requires doctors to think their cases according to their history.
Relying on two case studies observed in the frame of an ethnographic study of eleven
months in medical colleges of North India, the article suggests that the practical
completeness of autopsies is attained when all aspects of the history of the case are made
sense of with regard to the observation of the body. Whereas certain autopsies are
considered obvious and imply a reduced amount of time in the autopsy room, certain others
imply successive redefinitions of what complete implies and the realisation of certain
actions which would not have been performed otherwise.
Frédéric Le Marcis, Luisa Enria, Sharon Abramowitz, Almudena-Mari Saez and Sylvain Landry B. Faye
in Liberia; indirect mediation to chiefs in Sierra Leone. Inspired by the extended-case-study method developed by the Manchester School ( Gluckman, 1940 ), we illuminate our ethnography by paying attention to the long historyof the relationship between power and population. The cases are presented chronologically in order to align with the historyof the West Africa epidemic. In the first case, Sylvain Landry B. Faye details a case from Kolobengou, Guinea, in which Ministry of Health efforts to mobilise traditional and political elites clashed with locally