Textbook of Sports Medicine Laila Das
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1Sports and Exercises2

Introduction and HistoryChapter 1

Sports and exercises were always there from the very beginning of the history of mankind. In the era of survival of the fittest the prehistoric man was able to understand the value of fitness by use of his intelligence, which was far superior to animals over which he ultimately dominated. When men were a little civilized and sports became organized and competitive, professional advice for improvement of performance and raising the level of safety became a felt need.
With the advancement of civilization, sports being a part of human life since ancient days, has undergone many changes. Earlier, it was played only for the sheer joy and fun of participation. Gradually, it became a means of expression of excellence, power and superiority. To establish his superiority over other participants sportsman started his regular training and resorted to other available means. Gradually, with the modernization, the scientific means of training and support came into practice. Since those early days the sports arena has become more and more competitive. In the persuit for excellence, sports records are being broken almost every other day. Hence, the need for improved methods of training, scientific support, safety measures, improved sports equipments, etc. are being felt by the sports community. Sports science has come into existence to meet these special needs of sportsmen and the concept of sports medicine originated.
On the other hand, physicians also started understanding the value of exercises in therapy. In ancient times, even in 5th and 6th century BC there were physicians who advocated the use of exercise as the therapeutic measure in Egypt, China, Greece and Rome. Herodotus, the teacher of Hippocrates had strongly advocated exercises as a means of physical rehabilitation. This probably originated from his experience as a gymnasium physician who supervised athletes. He is in fact, the first sports physician we know by name (4th century BC). His concern and those of his colleagues were chiefly for the athletic schedule and training, conditioning and diet. Their regimen was Spartan and often included sleeping on the ground and bathing in the cold mountain streams. Their diet was largely vegetarian although it included the Mediterranean fishes in 4plenty. But as early as the 6th century BC however, the heavy weight boxers and wrestlers started adding meat to their diets perhaps with the idea to increase strength and aggressiveness. The importance and need of exercise has been stressed in writing 3000 years BC. The Hindu system of medicine, i.e. Ayurveda (1800 BC) also tells us about the utilities of physical exercise. In ancient India, sports medicine was an integral part of Ayurvedic system of medicine. References about the utility of sports are found in the writings of Sushruta, Bhanbatta, Charaka and other medical giants of ancient India.
It was not until the time of Galen (born about 150 AD) that much was written about the treatment of sports injuries and exercises. In the 4th century, Quintus describes medical services offered to athletes at the Greek and Roman festivals. In the same century Orilasins of Pergamum recommended vigorous and violent exercises for improving natural functions of the body organs—a recommendation that was reaffirmed by Paulus Aeginotoa in the 7th century. Avicenua and other Arabic hakims followed Galen's recommendation of only light or moderate exercise. Their influence was perpetuated thorough renaissance to modern times.
In the 15th century, Da Feltre and Vegius introduced gymnastics and sports as part of the daily educational curriculum, based on the classic Greek model. In the next century, Mercurial published six books on the art of Gymnastics, classifying exercises into preventive and therapeutic varieties. His concept influenced medical thoughts for the following 150 years. In the same century, Cagnetus at Verona advocated specially trained physicians with knowledge of sports and familiarity with medical problems of athletes. It was Jobert and Montpellier who first introduced medical gymnastics into the medical curriculum. However, the first printed book on exercise written by a physician was that of Cristobal Mendez of Jaen, Spain, in 1533. In the 17th century Audry of Paris prescribed a variety of exercises for children to treat and prevent their disease. His book, Le. Orthropaedic gave the specialty of orthopedics its name.
Twentieth century literature on sports medicine includes the following:
  • Exercises in Medicine by Robert Tait Mackenzine (1909)
  • The Hygiene of Sports by Weissbiin (1910)
  • Encyclopedia of surgery by G Van Saar (1914).
A meeting of sports physicians attending the Olympic Winter Games at St Mortiz in 1928 resulted in the establishment of the International Federation of Sports Medicine (FIMS). The American College of Sports Medicine was founded in 1954. Today many countries including the United States have become members of FIMS. Medical services have been provided for Olympic athletes with gradually increasing sophistication, including genotyping for sexual identity and testing for performance improving drugs (dope testing). Many national associations regularly publish journals of sports medicine or sports science encouraging research on the subject.
Although Indian Association of Sports Medicine was conceptualized and established in as early as 1973, the first batch of Postgraduate Diploma holders in Sports Medicine from an 5Indian University (Jadavpur University, Kolkata) passed out only in 1986. The Panjabi University, Patiala followed suit promptly in the next year, i.e. 1987. Jadavpur University has long since stopped conducting the Postgraduate Medical courses. Hence nowadays only Punjabi University offer the Diploma in Sports Medicine (DSM) course in India.
Sports medicine is an important branch of Sports science that deals with the health aspect of sportsmen. It may be defined as the arts and science of improving health and performance of sportspersons.
Sports medicine is an all-encompassing term that relates to all aspects of sports, exercises and sportsperson such as:
  • Sports anthropometry
  • Sports biomechanics
  • Clinical medicine
  • Growth and development
  • Sports nutrition and diet
  • Sports biochemistry
  • Drugs and dopes
  • Exercise physiology
  • Sports psychology
  • Sports sociology
  • Preventive medicine and hygiene
  • Sports traumatology
  • Sports physiotherapy and rehabilitation, etc.
Sports today is a highly technical subject. For the improvement of performance either for an individual or for a team, the crude method of force or strength does not count anymore. It essentially depends on the knowledge of body fitness and flexibility and ability for testing the aptitude backed by expert training and coaching and monitored by a qualified sports medic. This is what is called sports today.