By: 1 April 2010

'Preparticipation Screening' and 'Low Back Pain Management' were the subjects for the second quarterly meeting in the 'Sport and Exercise Medicine for London 2012' series of educational events organised by Professor Nicola Maffulli, Centre Lead, QMUL Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine (CSEM). Held on 19th March in association with DJO Education at the Royal Society of Medicine, the meeting attracted an international group of 50 high level SEM practitioners with 10 speakers from different SEM backgrounds. As well as providing an educational platform, the series of meetings offers a rare opportunity for SEM practitioners to share and debate current issues and challenges in one room.

The morning's session on Preparticipation Screening gave an enlightening overview of the dilemmas faced by elite sports physicians and sports bodies. The first speaker was Professor Giorgio Galanti from Florence who candidly discussed the value of state intervention in preparticipation assessment in Italy. The next two speakers, Southern Medical lead for the EIS and CMO for Team England at the Commonwealth Games, Dr Mike Loosemore and Dr Ian Beasley, Doctor for the Senior England Football Squad, further discussed screening in elite athletes as a tool for profiling and benchmarking to minimize risk of injuries and maximise performance. They were undecided as to the benefits of screening, preferring the description of preparticipation 'profiling' which limits the implications of a 'screen' requiring an action based on findings.

The importance of a healthy heart, the role of Medical Passports and the success of cardiac screening for elite athletes was discussed by two of the country's leading cardiologists, Dr Len Shapiro, and Professor Sanjay Sharma, the Medical Director for the Virgin London Marathon, who ended his presentation with a thought-provoking question: “At what cost should the life of one athlete be saved?”

The afternoon session focused on the complex nature of Low Back Pain Management with contributions from leaders in their field: Dr Craig Ranson, Senior Physiotherapist at UKA, Dr David Perry, Consultant Rheumatologist and Lead Clinician Emeritus at Barts and The London Centre for SEM, Mr Jonathan Betser, Consultant Sports Medicine Osteopath and Chairman of the Osteopathic Sports Care Association (OSCA). The surgical speaker was substituted by the meeting's chair, Professor Maffulli, who gave an insightful lecture on 'Surgery after conservative management of low back pain'.

Meeting organiser Professor Nicola Maffulli with Professor Giorgio Galanti

Dr Simon Petrides, Clinic Director at the Blackberry Orthopaedic Clinic in Milton Keynes commented: “I would highly recommend this well organised and sponsored meeting for any specialist in elite sports, notwithstanding the networking opportunities and catching up with old friends which seems to get more important as we all get older!”

Dr Pippa Bennett, Chief Medical Officer England Women's Football Teams & CMO, British Gymnastics added: “I had the pleasure of attending the morning session. Professor Giorgio Galanti's presentation on the Italian system of compulsory screening gave us some excellent data but raised some interesting questions about the usefulness of such mass screening. Unfortunately Dr Bryan English had pressing matters at Stamford Bridge and was unable to join us but Professor Maffulli eloquently spoke about Achilles tendon rupture in the week that sadly saw David Beckham ruled out of the World Cup.

Our thanks to DJO Education for sponsoring an excellent event and I highly recommend the future meetings to my colleagues.”

The speakers: (sitting) Craig Ranson, Giorgio Galanti, Mike Loosemore (standing) Nicola Maffulli, Len Shapiro, Jonathan Betser, Ian Beasley, Sanjay Sharma

Lucie Hanaghan, County Gaelic Football Physiotherapist added: “This was the first meeting of the series I have attended and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not only were experts presenting current trends, research data and practice in their fields, but the day also included comprehensive and critical discussion amongst speakers and delegates at regular intervals. The delegates included surgeons, physicians and physiotherapists working in a broad range of elite sports, which ensured lively debate and invited questions from all parties. As a private practitioner seeing athletes from a spectrum of disciplines, this was exactly the mix of expertise I was looking for. I now eagerly await the next event!”

Professor Giorgio Galanti, Internal Medicine and Director of the School of Specialisation in Sports Medicine in Florence, added: “I totally enjoyed the day and being exposed to high level British Sports and Exercise Medicine. The fact that Professor Maffulli was able to cover for absent speakers in such a remarkable way was impressive.”

The next meetings in 2010 are 18th June (Diabetes in the Elite Athlete and Injury Surveillance in Olympic Sports); 24th September (Tendinopathies & Compartment Syndrome/ CECS) and 10th December (Anti-doping and Knee Injuries). More information on CSEM-DJO Education events can be found at (news page).

Programmes and booking forms for future meetings are available from Barry Hill at