An interview with Per Renstrom on his personal perspective of the changes and developments in the sports medicine field over the last 40 years

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Author: Per Renstrom
Date: Apr. 29, 2013
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Document Type: Interview
Length: 2,458 words
Lexile Measure: 1370L

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Author(s): Per Renstrom1

How did you first become interested in sports medicine?

I grew up in a time before the existence of television, computers, and mobile phones. Children and adolescents had to occupy themselves with leisure time activities of their own choice and without the guidance of their parents. When I was very young I had the privilege of growing up in a small town in which participating in sport was the overall dominant activity for more or less everybody in my surroundings. I had some talent, so it was natural that sports activities swallowed me totally. I therefore developed a strong interest and working knowledge of some of the major sports.

After being accepted into the School of Medicine at University of Göteborg, Sweden it was natural for me to try to combine my very strong interest in sports with medicine. It was an early decision to look for courses in the area of Sports Medicine. The only problem was that it hardly existed as an independent entity at that time... in other words when I was ready to specialize, the discipline of Sports Medicine didn't really exist! The closest and most developed area around 1970 was exercise physiology, so I started to work with some of the great scientists in this field such as Bengt Saltin and Gunnar Grimby. My first publications were with them in 1972.

With time, I realized I was better suited and more interested in working with sports orthopedics, which includes the use of surgery to treat sports injuries of the musculoskeletal system, and I was very fortunate to find a great individual and athlete with the same interest - Lars Peterson in Göteborg, Sweden. As a team, we strongly promoted Sports Medicine in the region and in the country. We were fortunate to be part of the rapid development of this area which occurred during the 1970´s and the 1980´s. We have always felt at home in the discipline of Sports Medicine as our expertise in sports had given us an edge in dealing with some of the issues faced. For example, we could understand the athlete´s terminology, the loads on the body endured through sport, the specific injury mechanisms, and so on.

What do you think has been the main development in the field over the last 40 years?

Orthopedics have had an unbelievable development since 1970. In the last 40 years the main areas where there has been a "revolution" include the development of total joints, minimally invasive procedures such as arthroscopy, and the value of early motion, as well as the modern management of fractures. Sports Medicine has had a leading role especially in the development of arthroscopy and early motion.

What is arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy as we know it was developed by Watanabe, from Japan [1], in the beginning of the 1960´s and it became a important diagnostic clinical tool in the 1970´s. It is a minimally invasive procedure alternatively known as "keyhole surgery" performed using the aid of...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A534912478