From left to right: Floor Member of the Barbados Sports Medicine Association, Dr. Adrian Lorde; Dean of the Faculty of Sport at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus, Dr. Akshai Mansingh; Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports, John King; and President of the Barbados Sports Medicine Association, Dr. Carl Ward, sharing a light moment during Friday’s opening ceremony.

Sports Medicine conference opens in Barbados

Sportspersons and sports medicine practitioners from Barbados and across the region got an opportunity to share ideas and skills over this weekend as the Barbados Sports Medicine Association is currently hosting a conference titled ‘Staying in the Game: From Prevention to Performance’. Being held at the Savannah Hotel over yesterday and today, the conference provided a forum for some of the region’s leading minds in a bid to take the burgeoning field of study forward.

With local and visiting delegates on-hand at the opening ceremony on Friday evening, Minister of the Creative Economy, Culture and Sports John King was in attendance and he delivered the featured address. Still new in his capacity but already immersed in his duties, Minister King said that he was impressed by the strides made by the association. “I wish to say from the onset that I am particularly impressed with the tremendous work being done by our Sports Medicine Association in support of our athletes and other sportspersons, and the development of sport in Barbados. I hasten to emphasise ‘sportspersons’ because it is essential that all sports practitioners embrace sports medicine and the developments therein.”

Going on to say that his ministry’s mandate kept the health and well-being of sportspersons and persons pursuing physical activity at the fore in its work, Minister King said that it was doing its best to see many of the association’s initiatives to fruition.

“We are aware that notwithstanding their high level of physical fitness, such persons are susceptible to sports and exercise-related injuries as well as non-communicable diseases. Moreover, we are cognisant that such diseases and injuries can severely impact our athletes’ performance. It is, therefore, highly commendable that the Barbados Sports Medicine Association will soon be implementing its Health Evaluation and Health Maintenance Programme for selected elected and emerging athletes,” he said.

Drawing reference to the old adage ‘A stitch in time saves nine’, King explained that the saying applied directly to the work done in sports medicine as it aimed to give athletes the highest quality of performance for as long as possible. “This adage aptly describes the need for a proactive approach to minimising injuries and the early detection of and professional treatment of such injuries and non-communicable diseases. This suggests the need for an education programme through which our athletes, their parents, their guardians, other sportspersons and even wider Barbados can be sensitised about the proactive component of sports medicine.”

Throwing his full backing behind the conference, King said that the work would continue after. “As a follow-up, however, I look forward to a collaboration between my Ministry and the Barbados Sports Medicine Association on how we can further enlighten Barbadians about the benefits to be attained from sports medicine. The Ministry of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports will also be engaging the Sports Medicine Association on the expansion of the local market for sports medicine services. Among the matters to be considered are the employment opportunities and careers in the various facets of sports medicine.”

Lastly, he showed gratitude to the sponsors of the event and urged other corporate entities to buy into such initiatives as they could only augur well for the island. “I am convinced that your fostering of relationships with sporting organisations can be mutually beneficial for yourselves, our sportsmen and women, and by extension, our country. I therefore encourage other potential sponsors to emulate your involvement and to capitalise on the socio-economic potential that sports can bring to our island,” he said.

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