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‘Life is a preparation for the future; and the best preparation for the future is to live as if there were none.’ ― Albert Einstein
Let us live the moment, let us fully be where we are. This will allow us to do our wonderful job as Sports & Exercise Medicine physicians. Together with our passion for health and sport, and our deep-seated convictions in our profession, being fully present in time and space will enable us to be 100% dedicated to our athletes and patients.
When it comes to daily athlete and patient encounters in our consultations, we are on the one hand honoured to be recipients of some unique and fascinating life stories. These should also remind us to be thankful and embrace the role of a doctor, counsellor, medical advisor, mentor and therapist to all these exceptional people. On the other hand, we all know how overwhelmingly stressful the doctor’s clinic can be every day, while on occasion we are subjected to apparent monotonous routine.
The quote by Albert Einstein offers a complete change of perspective: how good is it to take an active approach, to be thankful for the opportunities and to see the glass half-full (or even more!) While nothing has changed, the starting point is completely different, and our daily horizon widens suddenly!
As SEM physicians working in clinical consultation and leading board members of Sport and Exercise Medicine Switzerland (SEMS), we encounter challenging situations in our two distinct professional activities. Hence, we would like to share some current projects of the Swiss SEM community.
‘Women in sports’: SEMS conference, 27 October 2022–28 October 2022 in Interlaken
The topic of our 2022 annual conference focuses on ‘Women in Sports’. ‘What should a SEM physician know about gynaecological issues’, ‘The female adolescent athlete’, ‘Pregnancy and sport’, ‘Is the female knee more susceptible to injuries?’, ‘What to consider when treating female athletes in physiotherapy’, ‘Psychology of the female athlete’ are some of the main topics presented in plenary sessions and workshops. Come and see for yourself in the scenic Interlaken, close to the Jungfrau - Top of Europe.
Safeguarding in Swiss sport: challenges and opportunities
Another topic constantly flashing in the middle of our radar for the last 2 years is safeguarding in sport. We made it our top priority and as we started to tackle this most complex challenge, it quickly became clear that we cannot do it alone. Navigating the seas of cultural change towards a safe sporting environment, one which fosters personal, physical and psychological development of athletes, we invited the leaders of the Swiss societies of sport psychology, sport nutrition and sport physiotherapy to join and to form an interdisciplinary working group, which we called Health4Sport. This quadrupled our respective resources and energies, through broader and deeper expertise and an efficient interprofessional collaboration to get to the next steps.
Health4Sport : let the flower bloom
This interdisciplinarity within Health4Sport is key, especially since processes towards the necessary systemic changes are notoriously slow, and the official sport institutions still struggle finding how to best integrate healthcare providers. To be fair, we also need to consider cleaning in front of our own door. We must provide continuing education of our SEM communities, in order for all sports clinicians to be ready to respond to the challenges of dealing with harassment and abuse in sport.
This is where we currently are. Planning new concepts and modules on how to teach effective communication skills, how to implement preventative safeguarding measures in practice at the individual and organisational level, and what decisions to take when our athletes suffer from the (repeated) breach of safeguarding principles.
Health4Sport unites the professional groups who are mostly in charge of medical, psychological and nutritional issues in sport federations, clubs, institutions and schools. By educating our members and spreading the unmistaken principles of safeguarding, we wish to see the Health4Sport safeguarding flower1 representing our proposed 13-point checklist gradually spread and bloom all over Switzerland.
It is summer as we write; let us sit back and relax, savouring our favourite Italian ice-cream after a hike in the mountains or a swim in the lake. Let us practice our job as a service to our athletes and patients to the fullest. As national board members, we pledge to stay positive, support our members and accept that change may well feel more like a marathon than a sprint. The best preparation for the future is to live as if there were none.
We hope you enjoy this new SEM Switzerland edition of the BJSM and hope to see you in and around Interlaken where ideas are certain to bloom!
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Contributors Both authors contributed equally.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.