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To be voted favourite advertisement by readers of the Scottish edition of the Sun is no mean feat (p79). Gavin Hastings, sporting hero, led the Health Education Board of Scotland's walking promotion that gained this honour. Winning the award was relatively unimportant, but what really mattered was that so many people noticed it. Rarely does sports medicine reach the national consciousness. Another innovative approach that triggered public awareness was the subway poster campaign (p144) which had two unusual and imaginative ideas that were positive, encouraging and had flair. This is a new approach for a message that could become tedious.
Traditional approaches have never the same appeal and we still struggle with the medical model of exercise promotion. Abby King, who has extensive experience in the field, addresses the issue of exercise counselling (p80). But most of the benefits are long term and trading long term gain against short term investment is a difficult sell. Perhaps vanity holds the key with the message that exercise can help weight control (p86). Vanity is that little researched but widespread subclinical condition that affects us all—well most of you. Mirror, mirror in the gym, exercise can keep you thin!
Jet skiers (p153) and snowboarders (p79) have a different type of image problem. These exciting, dramatic, and exhilarating sports are dogged with bad publicity and disliked by many. With any new sport the risks gradually become more apparent and the news of injury potential is drowned by the chorus of “I told you so”. We introduce you to some of these injuries and will watch with anticipation as the pattern evolves. It will be interesting to compare the relative risks of these new technology sports with those of the traditional games such as rugby (p94, p98), Gaelic football (p104) and cricket (p145), and Lisa Phillips tells us how we can begin to measure the injury incidence (p133) in these and other sports.
Another challenge to tradition is the use of massage. As we struggle to cope with a minimal evidence base, athletes in many sports use massage to aid preparation and speed recovery. It is fascinating to see these so-called alternative therapies examined using academic criteria (p109). Just as Gavin redefined methods of effective health promotion we may have to modify our medical approach. With open minds.
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