The Australasian College of Sports Physicians (ACSP) is the professional body representing sports physicians in both Australia and New Zealand. Sports physicians are committed to excellence in the practice of medicine as it applies to all aspects of physical activity. Safe and effective sporting performance at all levels is a major focus. Alongside this is the increasing recognition of the importance of exercise in the prevention and treatment of common and often serious medical conditions, such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and many cancers. Exercise does not replace traditional measures such as surgery, medication and rest in many of these conditions, but it can improve recovery and greatly improve long term outcomes.
With the goal of improving the health outcomes of their patients’ health with exercise, the ACSP was founded by a dedicated group of like-minded practitioners in 1985. Formal assessment and training structures followed between 1990 and 1993 and it was soon recognised that to give the discipline the attention it deserved, Sport and Exercise Medicine needed to be developed as a full medical specialty. This goal was achieved in New Zealand in 1999. Training and employment in this field is restricted to fully qualified medical practitioners.
In November 2009 the Hon Nicola Roxon MP, Minister for Health and Ageing, announced that ACSP has been successful in achieving recognition of Sport and Exercise Medicine as a new medical specialty in Australia. As a result, Sport and Exercise Medicine is now included in the Australian Medical Council’s List of Australian Recognised Medical Specialties.
The ACSP training program is unique in the world and is a much respected pathway for those seeking specialist skills in the clinical practice of Sport and Exercise Medicine. Formal specialist recognition means ACSP can now actively increase its role in using this expertise to the benefit of all from exercising individuals to recreational and elite sportspeople alike.