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Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine

Alumni and News

Sports and Exercise Medicine celebrates 40th anniversary 

24 January 2022

Prof John King (1944-2018)
Prof John King (1944-2018)

In 1981 the foundation stone was laid by the late Prof John B King to start the first formal education programme in the UK and Europe, leading to a qualification in sports medicine (SM) awarded by London Hospital Medical College. His shining beacon was Galen (AD 129-210), probably the first Sports Physician, looking after the Gladiators of Pergamum.

John was also inspired by his senior colleagues, Basil Helal (Olympics), Taffy Cameron (GB Swimming) and Brian Roper (West Ham FC) and, worked tirelessly to bring to fruition his vision of SEM, despite his immense role in leading Trauma Services in the Trust.

The course over the last 40 years has produced many doctors and physiotherapists who work at the highest level within all elite and professional sports. In the 2012 London Games, it is estimated that 17 Chief Medical Officers from different countries were CSEM alumni. 

Dr Tom Crisp (1986), a renowned Sports Physician, recalls ‘the course attracted budding sports physicians from around the world – that year including Nigeria, Australia, Uruguay, and New Zealand. It was a practical course with lots of anatomy and examination technique’.

Prof Nick Webborn OBE (1993) is the current President of The British Paralympic Association and Chief Medical Officer for UK Invictus Team. Nick recalls ‘In 1992 I returned to my alma mater, The Royal London, to take the Diploma Course in Sports Medicine under John King. I had incurred a spinal injury playing rugby as a medic in the RAF in 1980, and the experience of the rehabilitation process and a lifelong love of sport, provided the stimulus to take the course not sure where it would lead.’ Nick has maintained his link and remains an integral part of SEM at QMUL and often attends inter& multidisciplinary clinic meetings as well lecturing on the course.

Dr Richard Budgett OBE (1989) is a current Director in charge of the Medical & Scientific Department at International Olympic Committee (IOC) and was the Chief Medical Officer for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) in 2012. He recalls ‘It is nearly a decade since the Olympic Games in London and there are diploma courses all over the world, in-person, on-line and multidisciplinary.  Imitation is the greatest form of flattery and for me, it all started back in 1981 with John King at the Royal London Hospital.’

Dr Simon Kemp (1992) is a Medical Services Director at Rugby Football Union (RFU) UK and an Associate Professor at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London. Simon is profound in his recollection, ‘maintaining a focus on looking forward rather than back is generally accepted to be a good thing especially as one gets older. It is hard to overemphasise the effect my year on the Diploma course in 1991-92 has subsequently had on my professional life and indirectly much of my personal life. Just as the original Comedy Store provided much of the DNA for all of the stand-up comedy that followed, the London course seems to be the racehorse that sired most of the sports medicine doctors, before specialist training, and consequently many of the leaders in English sports medicine in the early 21st century.’ 

Dr Ian Beasley (1987) is probably the most experienced Football Medicine doctor, he has worked in all four divisions of the professional football leagues in England and was Head of Medical Services at the Football Association, and Team Doctor to the England Men’s Football Team. Ian has formally retired but continues to have strong links with SEM@QMUL engaging in lectures, research projects and generally, inspiring our students with his knowledge and relaxed demeanour. He states ‘my primary aim as a clinician is to develop further an already thriving clinical arm of a successful SEM department.’

Research projects have always been integral to the Course with many published or presented at national/international meetings leading to important contributions to SEM knowledge and development. At QMUL, collaborative research will continue between SEM and other departments, in the foreseeable future to better understand aetiology of some of the common musculoskeletal condition. The team have recently developed a novel ultrasound-based imaging approach which is able to detect IFM mechanics in-vivo, which has been termed “functional biomechanical imaging” (FBI).

The Annual Scientific Conference in SEM takes place every year in September with various research, clinical & Keynote presentations, plus workshops, demonstrations, and exhibitions. It is an opportunity for departing students to present the finding of their research project and, for new cohort of students arriving, an opportunity and an insight into what to expect. It is also an opportunity for a reunion, sharing knowledge, networking, and making new friends. We are a close knit SEM family@QMUL.

In 2021 the plan was to celebrate 40th anniversary of SEM@QMUL but plans were shelved due to COVID restrictions. It is hoped that we will be allowed to celebrate in 2022. Save the dates 8-9 September 2022. All welcome. 

SEM at QMUL will continue innovating in the combination of the best clinical practice, world-leading education, and research in order to deliver further step changes in care for our patients, learning outcomes for our students and knowledge within our speciality.


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