Dr. Jeroen Swart wants to make the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) more relevant.
That’s his goal, and he plans on doing that by restarting the centre’s clinical practice and making the years of expertise in sports medicine more accessible to athletes, professional and the nations weekend warriors.
Swart, team doctor of Ajax Cape Town since 2007, has tapped his contacts in sports medicine to assist in re-establishing a centre of excellence in a field of medicine that has been neglected in sports mad South Africa. The good doctor says the aim of his initiative is, “to make our discipline more relevant to the broader public.”
Doctors associated with some of the countries winning franchises have been asked to bring their experience and training to bear. Jason Suter, Sid Allie, Adrian Rotunno, Gabi Prinsloo, Lee Gordon and Mike Kiessig, doctors from the Stormers / Western Province rugby, IPL cricket, cycling team MTN-Qhubeka, Rugby Sevens and AJAX, will be available to consult with general practitioners treating sports related injuries.
“Not all doctors are trained to recognise or treat sports injuries or to provide exercise rehabilitation to prevent and rehabilitate chronic diseases. Sports stars of the future could be side-lines by misdiagnosis and inappropriate management,” said Swart.
Swart, who also headed up the players medical centre during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, intends to make the institutes research around sports injuries and treatment freely available. “Lots of what we do in research is filed away and never read. It needs to be applied practically.”
SSISA has also planned to run two new initiatives that will involve working in the fields of cardiac and orthopaedic care as well as rehabilitation. Swart plans assisting with Victoria Hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation programme by Dr Nasief van der Schyff and his team.
“We are planning to implement a public sector rehabilitation service here at the SSI, with the added benefits to the public of our accessibility and proximity to Newlands station and bus routes,” said Swart.
In line with achieving the goals set out in the field of orthopaedic care SSISA is working to strengthen its ties to University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Division of Orthopaedic Surgery.
“In the near future we hope to work closely with orthopaedics to be able to manage both non-surgical and surgical cases where rehabilitation is necessary,” said Swart.
ACCESS TO CAREERS IN SPORTS SCIENCE
Another goal set out by the SSISA is to highlight career paths for current and aspiring sport and exercise physicians.
“We’re training them in our specialist programmes but few work exclusively in the sport and exercise medicine sector,” said Swart
“We should be creating new opportunities for them.
“This career pathing also extends to the academic field, limited presently to the probably half a dozen individuals around the country.”