The Development of Sports Medicine in Twentieth-century Britain

The Development of Sports Medicine in Twentieth-century Britain

Sports medicine has grown in importance and visibility in recent years, yet as a discipline it struggled to gain broad recognition within the medical profession from c.1952 until specialty status was granted in 2005. It has also been neglected by historians: we have little beyond the image of a coach with his ‘magic sponge’ as a cure for all injuries, although the late twentieth-century picture is of new specialists developing high-tech interventions for elite athletes. This Witness Seminar arose from the Wellcome Trust-funded project on ‘Sport and Medicine in Britain, 1920–2000’ at the University of Manchester and examined the establishment of a recognizably modern specialty. Chaired by Professor Domhnall MacAuley, topics addressed included the importance of the 1948 London Olympics; the first 4-minute mile; training and altitude physiology; the postwar institutionalization of sports medicine; the relationship between the different main bodies involved in sport and their aims; the changing practice of professionals including physiotherapists, etc.; the relationship of NHS and private sports medicine practitioners and insurance companies; and the key debates within the sports medicine community over the period.

Contributors include: Sir Roger Bannister, Dr Malcolm Bottomley, Dr Ian Burney, Professor John Elfed Davies, Professor Charles Galasko, Dr Robin Harland, Dr Vanessa Heggie, Mr Barry Hill, Professor Michael Hobsley, Dr Michael Hutson, Professor Monty Losowsky, Professor Domhnall Macauley (chair), Mrs Rose Macdonald, Professor Donald Macleod, Professor Moira O’Brien, Dr Malcolm Read, Professor Peter Sperryn, Professor Harry Thomason, Dr Dan Tunstall Pedoe and Mrs Sally Williams.

Introduction by Dr John Lloyd Parry, 184pp, 2 appendices, 11 figures, biographical notes, references, glossary and index.

Reynolds L A, Tansey E M. (eds) (2009) The development of sports medicine in twentieth century Britain. Wellcome Witnesses to Twentieth Century Medicine, vol. 36. London: The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL.
ISBN 978 085484 1219