The History of Sports Medicine
A few years ago, TIME magazine had an article on a brief history of sports medicine. Physicians here at Orthopaedic Associates of Zanesville focus on sports medicine. Merriam-Webster defines sports medicine as: A field of medicine concerned with the prevention and treatment of injuries and disorders that are related to participation in sports. The term was first used in 1961, only 50 years ago.
Physicians that specialize in sports medicine emphasize enhancing fitness levels and overall health of the larger population through diet and exercise. As we know from high school English class, ancient Greeks celebrated athletes. Herodicus is sometimes referred to the first doctor of athletic medicine. Other ancient Greeks responsible for helping athletes were Hippocrates who spent time treating injuries and helping athletes in competition and Claudius Galen, who was a primary physician for gladiators. Over the next few centuries, the idea and practice of sports medicine all but disappeared.
It wasn’t until the early 20th century that sports medicine started to become popular. One of the first physicians responsible for sports medicine was A.V. Hill, who won the Nobel Prize of Physiology in 1922. Dr. Hill was awarded the prize for the discovery relating to the production of heat in the muscle.
During the 1968 Summer Olympics, Dr. J.C. Kennedy organized a team of doctors to travel with the athletes to make sure they were well cared for. Dr. Kennedy was also the founder of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine.
What sets sports medicine apart from other areas of medicine is physicians are proactive in the treatment options of athletes. Sports medicine physicians don’t wait until an injury occurs, but we aim to continuously minimize risk in athletes to achieve best results.