History of BASEM

In 1952, a group of doctors, mostly those who were acting as medical advisers to the Governing Bodies of sport, with the addition of some others interested in medical aspects of sport, met at the Westminster Hospital in London at the instigation of Sir Adolphe Abrahams and Sir Arthur Porritt, and formed the British Association of Sport and Medicine. During its first year, there was a total membership of some seventy doctors, and several meetings were held in London. The entire administration of the Association was at this time carried out by Dr.W.S.Tegner, the Hon. Secretary/Treasurer, Sir Adolphe Abrahams was founder President, which office he held until the time of his death in the winter of 1967. Sir Arthur Porritt, as Chairman, played a most active part in the growth of the Association until leaving Britain in 1967.

During the early years, quarterly meetings were held at various London Medical Schools for the discussion of the medical problems of the athlete, his injuries, occupational illnesses, and the physiological aspects of his training. A close partnership developed with the British Olympic Association, who from time to time requested B.A.S.M. to set up ad hoc advisory committees, to give guidance on such problems as the psychological stresses of sport, the special hazards of women engaging in competitive sport, climatic conditions and methods of acclimatisation for heat, cold and altitude. Where appropriate, these committees co-opted specialists from outside the Association, to whom we continually owe a debt of gratitude. The Association also acted in advisory capacity for several governing bodies of sport, and many of them, affiliated to B.A.S.M., sent their medical advisers to meetings, and had representatives on the Executive Committee of the Association.

During the first eight years, the Association grew to around a hundred members, and included a few national coaches and senior officials who were admitted to Associate Membership and were able to act in an advisory capacity. In 1961 it was decided to open membership to those in professions related to sport and medicine, so Full Membership was made available to physiologists, physiotherapists, physical educationists, psychologists and others in addition to the doctors already eligible. A scheme of junior membership was also established for students in all these professions.  Membership increased rapidly, once there was a more liberal policy of membership, and within two years the medical membership alone more than doubled, the total membership having trebled. More Governing Bodies were brought into Affiliated Membership, and it was soon necessary to establish branches of the Association in Scotland, North East, North West and South West England, to cater for the many members living in areas geographically remote from London.

This meant a greatly added strain on the administration, and the office of Hon. Secretary/Treasurer, held by Dr. D.J.Cussen since 1955, was split up. Dr. H.E.Robson became Hon. Treasurer in 1962, and Dr. J.G.P. Williams Assistant Hon. Secretary. Later, some members of the Executive Committee accepted office in new administrative posts made necessary by the great increase in membership, in the number of meetings, and in the establishment of the Areas. As meetings were now being held in many places, it is impossible for members to attend them all, so a vehicle of communication had to be established to undertake publication of proceedings, and to give a fairly rapid publication outlet for papers on clinical medicine applied to sport, exercise physiology, and other matters relative to the work of the Association.

The untimely death of Mr. Derek Coltart, F.R.C.S., who was appointed Editor, left this aspect of our activities with a large gap, which was filled by Mr. R.D.James, Dip.P.E. Dr. P.N.Sperryn took responsibility for the coordination of conferences, and Dr. E.J. Hamley, PhD., became Membership Secretary. The Area Associations set up ad hoc committees to help to organise regional meetings, and the Scottish Area has now gained a large degree of autonomy, both administrative and financial (It already has a membership as large as the foundation membership of the parent body, and has initiated several projects such as the medical examination of Scottish athletes prior to the 1966 Commonwealth Games). In 1965, Dr. J.G.P.Williams became Hon. Secretary, filling the vacancy left when Dr. Cussen became Vice-President.

The Objects of the British Association of Sports and Medicine.

The objects for which the British Association of Sport and Medicine is established are:

  • To promote the scientific approach to the investigation of medical aspects of sport.
  • To issue and sell publications, promote conferences and courses of study, and keep abreast of developments in medical aspects of sport, both clinical and scientific, and take part in discussions on such subjects.
  • To promote visits by the members to countries overseas and by the peoples of foreign countries to the United Kingdom for the purpose of the scientific study of the medical aspects of sport of the communities concerned and the methods of practice thereof.
  • To form, establish and control branches and offices of the Association in any part of the world.
  • To adopt such means of making known the Association and its objects as may seem expedient and in particular by advertising in the press, by circulars, by publication of books and periodicals, and by granting prizes, rewards and donations.
  • To purchase or otherwise acquire any buildings, and other real or personal property of any kind necessary or convenient for any of the purposes of the Association, and to alter and maintain buildings or other works necessary or convenient for the Association.
  • To undertake and execute any trust which may lawfully be undertaken by the Association, and to take any gifts of real or personal property, whether subject to any special trust or not, for any one of the or more of the objects of the Association.

Taken from A Brief History of the British Association of Sport & Medicine
BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine
Bull Br Assoc Sport Med 1968 3: 143-147