Campus Life

Cardiff Sport and Exercise Medicine Society host SEM Conference 2012

by Liam West

I’m Liam West and I’m the Founder and Co-President of CSEMS, and the Organiser of Cardiff SEM Conference 2012. You may be wondering: What is Sports Medicine? How can medics and physiotherapists get involved in elite level sport? How can we use exercise to combat the increasingly prevalent problem of obesity and related morbidities in the UK? Cardiff Sports and Exercise Medicine Society (CSEMS) hosted a Sports and Exercise Medicine (SEM) Conference on the 31st March to answer these questions and many more! 

Physical inactivity is arguably one of the leading public health problems in the world today. [pullquote]Physical inactivity is arguably one of the leading public health problems in the world today.[/pullquote]A recent report (2009) from the World Health Organisation indicates that each year physical inactivity is responsible for 3.2 million deaths worldwide; a figure that is only exceeded by the mortality caused by high blood pressure, tobacco use and diabetes. I am sure you are only too aware of the increasing trends of obesity in the UK and this is something that the NHS is currently looking to tackle; SEM is going to be at the forefront of this challenge and the Conference looked to explore ways in which delegates could get involved.

Over 200 delegate tickets were purchased by a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate and qualified Physiotherapists & Medics from across the UK, to attend the “Cardiff SEM Conference 2012”. There were 20 speakers, all of international repute, that brought expertise and contributions from various specialities that come together to not only enhance athlete performance, but also combat musculoskeletal problems within the NHS. The whole day took place at the Heath Hospital Campus and was also attended by 10 distinguished international companies that were sponsoring the event; Technogym, Maximuscle, Errea, Sempris, Medi Uk, The MDU, MPS, BASEM, Physique Management and McGraw Hill. Some of these companies brought equipment for the delegates to test during the lunch interval as can be seen in the pictures.

In the morning there were several talks that all delegates attended. The first talk was from Dr. Richard Martin – a Specialist Registrar in SEM whom is the club Doctor for Aberavon RFC, Scarlets RFC Academy and Welsh Women’s Football Team – discussing how to get involved in SEM for medical students with a talk called “To Train Or Not To Train; That’s The SEM Question”. This was extremely informative and gave important advice and tips or what medical students can do during their time as an undergraduate to enhance their chances of forging a successful career in Elite Sport or Exercise Medicine.

The second talking of the morning session, and arguably the most popular talk, was from Dr. Lucy Obolensky – an Specialist Registrar Orthopaedic Surgeon whom is the Doctor for the GB Surf lifesaving team and the water rescue team for the London 2012 Olympics. Dr. Obolensky presented a talk titled “Global Sports Medicine; Are you Breaking The Boundaries?” which looked into how skills learnt through SEM training can be transferred to almost any situation and in her case, charity work in Kenya. Lucy played several videos that showcased her experiences in Kenya helping to provide Orthopaedic Surgery for children that have no access to healthcare dur to poverty. The talk was very moving and many delegates have since arranged to gop out to Kenya with her to help in any way they can. CSEMS also hosted a raffle during the conference – prizes including a signed shirt from the 2012 Grand Slam winning Welsh Rugby Team, a signed Shirt from the Welsh Football Team, over £500 worth of SEM books as well as others – and the proceeds of this raffle went to Lucy’s Charity (

The third talk of the morning session was joint-presented by Dr. Mark Ridgewell – Team Physician to Wales Commonwealth Team (Melbourne 2006 & Delhi 2010), Ex-Medical Officer to England & Wales Cricket Board, Currently Team Doctor and Chief Medical Officer to The Welsh Football Team, Head of Sport Medicine at Scarlets RFC, Sport Physician to the High Performance Unit at Sport Wales, Welsh Swimming, Athletics & Netball and Glamorgan County Cricket – and Mr. David Weeks – Previously Senior Physiotherapist for Birmingham FC, Ipswich Town FC, the English Football Association (FA), Plymouth Albion RFC, and was the Clinical Lead for the South West Region of the Ministry of Defence. Dr. Ridgewell spoke to the delegates about what to expect from working in Elite Sport and musculoskeletal medicine whilst Mr. Weeks advised on career pathways for Physiotherapists interested in working in Sport.

CSEMS were extremely honoured to secure Dr. Mike Loosemore – Chief Medical Officer for England Commonwealth Team, Lead Sports Physician (South England) for English Institute of Sport and Doctor for British Boxing – whom is currently leading the UK campaign to use Exercise as a therapeutic intervention in many medical conditions. With his talk, “Exercise is Medicine”, Dr. Loosemore presented extraordinary evidence that advocated the benefits of exercise. The delegates were lucky enough to get an insight to the future directions the NHS will no doubt be endeavouring to follow!

During the lunch interval delegates were able to speak to all the Conference sponsors, play on the equipment they had brought and also grab as many freebies as possible! There was also a poster competition sponsored by the British Association of Sports and Exercise Medicine (BASEM) which enabled students to present the SEM research they have been involved in to their peers.

During the afternoon the delegates were able to choose between five different workshops covering the following areas: Upper Limb Surgery and Rehabilitation – Shoulder, Elbow Wrist & Hand; Lower Limb Surgery and Rehabilitation – Groin, Knee & Ankle; Optimising Athlete Performance with Sports Nutrition, Biomechanics, Physiology and Strength & Conditioning; Sports Taping and Kinesio Taping (Practical) and SEM Debates and Sports Massage (Practical). All of these workshops gave delegates the chance to not only enhance their clinical knowledge but also practical skills within the chosen area of SEM. Some pictures of the afternoon sessions are included.

The feedback from the event was extremely positive and CSEMS are looking into hosting another similar conference soon!!

So who are Cardiff Sports and Exercise Medicine Society (CSEMS) and why was it set up? Preceding the formation of the society, for well over a year I, as well as my colleague Sophie Bennett, struggled to try to get involved in Sports and Exercise Medicine (SEM), snatching at any opportunity that I could engineer. Despite SEM being in its infancy as a speciality, I was surprised by how little advertising it received at undergraduate level. Therefore in 2010 Sophie and I worked hard to set up CSEMS; aiming to increase the awareness of medical students to the possible careers that could be attained in the field of SEM and furthermore, offer educational and clinical experiences within this field. After an encouraging first year, we decided to incorporate physiotherapy students into the society and indeed on the CSEMS committee.

Since this inclusion in 2011 the society has exponentially gone from strength to strength and now puts on monthly talks from various SEM disciplines with a popular attendance. We have been able to help students gain clinical experience with the Welsh Rugby Union, Welsh Football Association, Welsh Institute of Sport (High Performance Unit), Bristol Rugby Club, Bath Half Marathon, Glamorgan CCC and in many other areas.  We also help to set up modular components of our members University degrees within SEM and aim to facilitate the opportunity to network with SEM Professionals whom can provide further openings.

You can become a member of CSEMS through the Union Societies paghe online or if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at



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