Recipient of the Sir Roger Bannister Medal in 2016 Professor Michael Cullen
Like many doctors involved in Sport and Exercise Medicine, Michael was a keen sportsman, playing football to Schoolboy and Amateur International level. He readily admits that the best piece of career advice he was ever given was from the legendary Liverpool FC manager Bill Shankley, who after a weeks trial at the club told him to ‘stick to yer studies son’. A tibial fracture (complicated by an undiagnosed acute compartment syndrome and delayed union) when a junior doctor crystallised his desire to follow a career in SEM and in 1991 he successfully sat the first diet of the Diploma in Sports Medicine of the Scottish Royal Colleges.
Michael was appointed a Consultant in Sports Medicine at Musgrave Park Hospital in 1996, developing a large regional outpatient service as well as undergraduate and postgraduate teaching programmes at the Queens University Belfast and the University of Ulster at Jordanstown. He held Visiting Professor and Senior Lecturer positions at UUJ and QUB respectively until his retirement in 2014.
Michael was Chair of BASEM between 2002 and 2005, guiding the restructuring of the organisation and the amalgamation with UKADIS to form a single professional body representing doctors in SEM in the UK. He was a member of the working group which developed and submitted the successful application to have SEM recognised as a new medical specialty by the Department of Health in the UK in 2005. Between 2008 and 2011 he was Chairperson of the Specialist Advisory Committee in SEM, responsible for the development of the curriculum and the delivery of higher specialty training programmes in the UK. In 2008 he was appointed International Advisor to the Australasian Medical Association to oversee the process of specialty recognition of Sports Medicine in Australia and New Zealand.
Michael was elected a Foundation Fellow of the Irish Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine in 2002, a Fellow of the Institute of Sport and Exercise Medicine in 2003 and a Foundation Fellow of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (UK) in 2006. He served as an elected member of Council of FSEM UK and in 2015 was awarded the title of Honorary Fellow in recognition of his contribution to the specialty in the UK. He was awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians London in 2009.
Throughout his career Michael had a keen interest in education and acted as External Examiner for all of the taught postgraduate university programmes in SEM in the UK. He supervised and examined PhD, MSc and intercalated BSc research projects as well as being an examiner for the FSEM Diploma Examination. He was a senior associate editor of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Michael held the post of Honorary Medical Advisor to the Irish Football Association from 1986 to 2002, acting as senior international team doctor for almost one hundred matches as well as covering many more Youth games. Unfortunately during this time the team did not qualify for the finals of a major championship – he jokes that they had to wait until a properly trained SEM doctor was in post before doing so!