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International Federation of Sports Medicine

Introduction to the Special Issue: Pertinent Topics in Sports Medicine

Pigozzi, Fabio MD, PhD1,2; Bachl, Norbert MD1,3

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Current Sports Medicine Reports: 11/12 2017 - Volume 16 - Issue 6 - p 435-436
doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000433
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As president and general secretary, we are delighted to introduce the first FIMS special issue of Current Sports Medicine Reports dealing with some of the most pertinent topics in contemporary sports medicine. It is no coincidence that the topics addressed in this first issue deal with the principle areas of interest of our Federation: advancement of medical sports science, education of the new generation of sports physicians, ethics and doping, the care and well-being of the athlete as a person and promoter of sports values in our society.

Since its establishment in 1928 as Association Internationale Médico-Sportive in Saint Moritz, Switzerland, FIMS has played a crucial role in developing sports medicine as a science and has actively participated in the growth of the Olympic Movement and the philosophy of its Founding Father, Pierre de Coubertin (1863–1937) (4). FIMS has contributed extensively in establishing sports medicine as a popular medical specialty internationally. FIMS also has been instrumental in establishing scholarly journals and accrediting educational programmes for sports physicians and other allied to medicine professionals. As such, FIMS has contributed significantly in defining the specific topics contemporary sports medicine should address as an interdisciplinary field devoted to the promotion of human well-being through sport and physical activity.

The history of sports medicine is intricately tied to the history of science. The early sports medicine practitioners viewed athletes as mere curiosities and “mirabilia” sources of bio-physiological data useful in enhancing our understanding of human body function (1). It was not until the mid 20th century that specialized sports medicine practitioners emerged dedicated to the cause of improving athletic performance and supporting athletes and sporting events (3).

In recent years, FIMS and sports medicine in general have asserted a more sociological role in contemporary society. Sports physicians are not only clinicians but also educators and moral agents who act as practitioners offering their knowledge and wisdom to the service of others (5). As the largest association of sports physicians in the world, FIMS continues to be inspired by Coubertin’s perennial ideals. The French Baron quickly realized that sports medicine could play a fundamental role in the development of the Olympic ideals and its social and educational values. FIMS views sport as a means of improving the quality of life of all human beings within the communities they live. In this regard, we can affirm that the philosophy of FIMS is based on a holistic interpretation of physical activity and sport as a conduit to promote and maintain physical and mental health in all individuals. Health and well-being are human rights, and sport and medicine as a science of human care are the tools, which make these rights accessible to all people (2).

The continued investment in education and training by FIMS reflects the lifelong learning philosophy, which has inspired a legacy since its establishment in the last century. For FIMS, young generations of sports physicians represent human capital and investment. The numerous meetings, conferences, and congresses organized over the years in different locations of the world are in keeping with this ambitious agenda. In our opinion, this philosophy is the key to understanding the success of FIMS as an association of scholars and clinical practitioners in the field of sport and the reason behind its tremendous geographical expansion worldwide. There is no doubt that FIMS, according to its inspirational principles, has contributed to the popularity and prestige associated with sports medicine. FIMS has increased the development of medical research dedicated to the study of sport and physical activity and has grown in stature through disseminating the principles of motivation, performance, and the health aspects of sport and physical activity. The growing number of registrations at FIMS World Congresses and the success of its editorial and educational initiatives aimed at promoting best practice sport medicine evidence the endorsement of the FIMS philosophy. Thanks to editorial initiatives and our new affiliation with the prestigious scholarly journal Current Sports Medicine Reports, the Federation promotes best-practice principles for athlete care and sharing knowledge with sports physicians all over the world. For all these reasons, editorial initiatives such as the publication of this first special issue on pertinent topics in sports medicine by Current Sports Medicine Reports is welcomed as an outstanding initiative perfectly in line with the principles and values of FIMS.

The first FIMS (AIMS) World Congress during the 9th Olympic Summer Games, Amsterdam, August 1928. A total of 280 sports physicians from 20 countries attended the first congress under the chairmanship of Frederick Buytendijk.

In 2011, the FIMS Collaborating Centres of Sports Medicine were established. These centres function as local multiplicators and ambassadors of the vision and mission of FIMS and are instrumental in achieving joint objectives in all parts of the world. Today FIMS is deeply committed to the fight against and prevention of doping in sport, focusing specifically on the protection of the clean athlete. These efforts have contributed to establishing sports medicine as a scientific discipline also dedicated to the study of performance-enhancing substances and methods used in sport. This focus has led to FIMS establishing the Collaborating Centre of Sports Medicine for Anti-Doping Research promoting a holistic anti-doping approach comprising of at least three primary anti-doping pillars: prevent doping, protect the clean athlete, and promote performance without doping.

FIMS wishes to express its gratitude to all our colleagues who have served on the FIMS Executive Committee for their contribution to FIMS’s success. FIMS now boasts its headquarters at the Maison du Sport Internationale in Lausanne, which also represents a symbolic return to its roots where our Federation was founded in 1928, during the Winter Olympic Games. This achievement will surely contribute to strengthening the relationship with sport, scientific, and medical communities and with the existing leading international bodies, which are represented in our Executive Committee.

In concluding the welcome address to this first special issue of Current Sports Medicine Reports, we wish to express our immense gratitude to our major collaborating partner, the American College of Sports Medicine. The combined histories and aspirations of these two organizations places us in good stead for a long, prosperous, and successful partnership dedicated to the growth of medical science and respect for sport and its human values.


1. Hoberman J. Mortal Engines: The Science of Performance and the Dehumanization of Sport. New York (NY): Free Press, 1992.
2. McNamee M. Sport, Medicine, Ethics. London (UK): Routledge, 2014.
3. Reynolds L, Tansey E (Eds). The Development of Sports Medicine in Twentieth-century Britain. Wellcome Witnesses to Twentieth Century Medicine. vol. 36. London: Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL: 2009.
4. Tittel K, Wesseling J. Seventy-Five Years FIMS. A Historical Review in Words and Pictures. Gera: Druckhaus Gera, 2005.
5. Waddington I. The development of sports medicine. Sociol. Sport J. 1996; 13:176–96.
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