The establishment of the South Africa Sports Medicine Association was preceded by sports medicine activities including an international sports medicine conference in Johannesburg in 1977 (October 25-28), a sports medicine textbook written by South Africans, and a growing interest in the clinical practice of sports medicine.
1980 – 1989
Following the first successful congress in Johannesburg, from February 1980 Dr Louis Sirkin, a radiologist, would arrange monthly meetings for a group of doctors at the Sunnyside Park Hotel.
In 1982 Dr Clive Noble, an orthopaedic surgeon, suggested the forming of a sports medicine association. Thereafter, on 24th January 1983 a meeting at the GR Bozzoli Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand was held, and a steering committee formed. This committee consisted of Dr Louis Sirkin, Dr Clive Noble, Dr Ivan Cohen, Dr Neil Gordon, Dr Etienne Hugo and Dr DP Myburgh.
Nominations were called for and an Executive Committee elected and formed at the Johannesburg Country Club on 19th September 1983. The Executive consisted of the President: Dr Louis Sirkin, Honorary Secretary: Dr Clive Noble, honorary Treasurer: Dr Ivan Cohen and Dr Tim Noakes as Additional Member. The committee agreed to serve for a year and to meet at Dr Sirkin’s house. The Committee created a constitution which they circulated prior to the first Association Congress held at RAU in Johannesburg on 14 March 1985. At this meeting Dr Clive Noble was elected President of SASMA, Dr Etienne Hugo Secretary/Treasurer, and members were Dr Tim Noakes and Dr Dawid van Velden.
The second Congress was held in Cape Town, 14-16 April 1987. Dr Etienne Hugo was elected President, and the Executive consisted of: Prof Gert Srydom, Prof Justus Potgieter, Dr Dawid van Velden and Dr Joe Skowno.
In 1988 the Congress was held in Durban.
In 1989 the first regional branch was created in the then Northern Transvaal Province.
Between 20-23 March 1989, at the Cape Sun in Cape Town the Association held its Third congress in conjunction with the South African Rugby Board entitled International Congress on injuries in rugby and other contact sports. In addition it was preceded by a cycling symposium.
1990 – 1999
The fourth Congress was held at Sun City between 24-27 April 1991. The fifth Congress was held in Cape Town’s Civic Centre between March 9th and 12th, 1993.
The sixth Congress was held at the Elangeni Hotel in Durban between 22-24 March, 1995. This was a threshold time, when at the Biennial general Meeting a motion was voted upon and passed that members that were not medical doctors qualified as full members with all constitutional rights. Professor Martin Schwellnus was elected President.
The seventh congress was at Sun City, 24-26 March, 1997, and the President was Dr Shorty Moolla.
The eighth congress was held at Vodaworld, Johannesburg in 1999, and coincided with the All Africa games held in the city. The President was Professor Wayne Derman.
2000 – Present
The 2001 Congress took place at Caesar’s Palace in Johannesburg, and the President was Dr Philda de Jager. The 2003 Congress took place at the Spier Conference Centre in Stellenbosch under the Presidency of Dr Michael Marshall. The 2005 Congress will be held in Johannesburg at the Wits Education Campus under the Presidency of Dr Demitri Constantinou. This will see the first ever combined ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) and FIMS (International Sports Medicine Federation) Advanced Team Physician Course on offer.
Each Congress was international, with invited international experts having contributed to the scientific programmes.
The Association numbers have varied over the years from between 150 to 800 active members. There are a number of International Members and a spread nationally covering all areas with seven regional branches.
The South African Journal of Sports Medicine has been a peer-reviewed Journal published on average 3 times per annum. It is accredited with the Department of Education of South Africa, and will shortly become internationally accredited.
Most sports medicine activities within South Africa and international travels with national teams have involved SASMA members.
Since 2004 members have benefited with additional professional and non-professional benefits, most importantly being enlisted as individual FIMS members. Other benefits have included favorable deals with health and sports magazine subscriptions, hotel and car rental frequent guest benefits.
There have been, with almost no exceptions, no sporting activities in all regions of South Africa and across the world, where SASMA members have not proudly represented the sports medicine fraternity in assessing, looking after and caring for our athletes at all levels. The medical team selection criteria and application forms for international competition through the various macro bodies, specifically through NOCSA (National Olympic Committee of South Africa) and SASC (The South African Sports Commission), was not only developed by SASMA members between 2000 and 2005, but includes additional credit for being a member.
As of 2004, all SASMA members enjoy a number of benefits, including being individual members of FIMS, the largest sporting body in the world.