2014 Winner of the BASEM Travelling Fellowship – Dr Bhavesh Kumar
Paediatric and Adolescent Sport and Exercise Medicine in North America
Our speciality arguably has much to offer in the care of young people across a spectrum of activity levels. This includes the growing cohort of inactive youth at heightened risk of chronic disease, those that already live with chronic disease, and active young athletes. The desired outcomes are similar across all groups, chiefly to promote and facilitate safe participation in sport and exercise that result in psychosocial benefits, such as increasing self-confidence and self-esteem, and physical gains such as aerobic capacity and strength. Positive physical activity behaviours established in childhood are likely to track into adulthood, ultimately resulting in economic benefits to our National Health Service and more widely though increased productivity.
Opportunities for Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM) physicians to acquire essential training in Paediatric and Adolescent SEM (PASEM) in the UK are few and piecemeal. Physical activity promotion is apparent at the public health level, and limited musculoskeletal injury management experience is available pitch side and within general sports or orthopaedic clinics. Paradoxically, given the vulnerability and nuances of the developing child, clinicians seeking pitch side care experience often find their initial opportunities with younger athletes before ‘progressing’ to elite adult athlete care!