Sports Medicine

 Sports medicine and sports sciences are terms used by physiologists, physicians, psychologists, physiotherapists, trainers, coaches and physical educators, all of whom are interested in specific medical, sociological, psychological and physiological aspects of sports. The area also includes the prevention of injury to athletes and the treatment of injured athletes, and awareness of the needs of Canadians (particularly young children, adolescents, women, the handicapped and the elderly) who participate in some form of active pastime.

Sports medicine practitioners help serious athletes plan preseason training and testing, provide early treatment for injuries, identify groups that may be susceptible to risk, and record frequencies in patterns of injuries. The study of safety equipment and modification of rules to preclude injuries have also become integral to sports medicine. The evolution of sports medicine in Canada was somewhat haphazard until 1965, when a joint subcommittee of the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation was established to investigate problems relating to sports medicine and national fitness. This led to the formation of the Canadian Association of Sports Sciences in 1967.

Groups specializing in motor learning and the sociology, physiology and psychology of sport have also emerged. Since the early 1970s the Medical Committee of the Canadian Olympic Association, the Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine, the Sports Medicine Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association have helped develop a system to aid top Canadian athletes. In 1978 the Sports Medicine Council was founded to advance the development of medical, paramedical and scientific services and their provision to Canadian amateur athletes, and specifically to establish policies to safeguard high-quality care; to promote education and research in the fields of sports science and sports medicine; to develop an information bank on EPIDEMIOLOGY and management of sports injuries and illnesses; and to stimulate and provide for applied research related to the training, treatment and evaluation of athletes. The council is associated with the Sports Information and Resource Centre, a documentation centre headquartered in Ottawa for sports, physical education, recreation and sports sciences. The major sports-medicine clinics are in universities across Canada. In the US, by contrast, many of the largest sports-medicine clinics are private enterprises.

Sports and Drugs

According to most sports-governing bodies, the performance of athletes should reflect their inborn ability, training techniques, perseverance, dedication and skill. Unfortunately, success for athletes has become synonymous with the success of a training system, a country and even an ideology (see CANADA-SOVIET HOCKEY SERIES); pressure on international athletes is enormous and the use of drugs common. Canada is not exempt from these practices. Many of these drugs are dangerous during their immediate use and because of their long-term side effects. They can be broadly divided into anabolic substances capable of enhancing body bulk and mass; stimulants that alter states of alertness and awareness; drugs that alter the body's metabolism, allowing more rapid recovery of oxygen or enhancing its delivery to muscles; and drugs that alter perception of pain. New methods of chemical manipulation of performance are constantly being devised, such as blood doping. At present, more money is spent policing drug abuse than is spent on injured athletes, and it is really only the athletes who bear the punishment for drug abuse.