Introducing the Sports and Exercise Medicine Students Association (SEMSA) in Australia

Undergraduate perspective on Sport & Exercise Medicine – a BJSM blog series

By Jacob Jewson (@jacobjewson, @SEMSA_Vic )

Co-authored by Mitchell Simpson and Jack Cookson (@JackCCookson)


Why do we need a student association for sports and exercise medicine in Australia?

Sport and exercise medicine is a growing health field across the world, particularly in Australia. Important for elite athletes, and your everyday sports enthusiast, this area of health is vital for maximising player performance and enhancing quality of life through the benefits of exercise [1, 2].

Despite these benefits, some health degrees do not provide enough teaching on sports and exercise medicine. Often it is up to students to search far and wide to find appropriate teaching and to hopefully stumble upon some career guidance. This has been the driving factor behind an exciting new students association founded in March 2016.

What is SEMSA?

The Sports and Exercise Medicine Students’ Association (SEMSA) is an Australian organisation that facilitates education and career development in the field of sport and exercise medicine.

SEMSA aims to promote SEM as a speciality field, covering both the management of exercise related injuries and the promotion of health through increased use of exercise and physical activity. Member education across multiple disciplines is also a key focus. The association is consistently sharing journal and news articles about advances in SEM. To further facilitate this education and development SEMSA will host a number of events and workshops to introduce members to influential sports and exercise medicine clinicians, and key aspects of the profession.

Who is SEMSA?

SEMSA was founded by a group of like-minded students and recent graduates. We saw the need for further specialized instruction in sports and exercise medicine. The committee is comprised of medical and physiotherapy students, as well as recent graduates in the medical and physiotherapy field.

We all have a passion to expose students to key concepts and practitioners in SEM, and facilitate the education of practical skills. This common interest has enabled us to work well together as a multi-disciplinary unit to provide opportunities for students from various fields.

What type of events and workshops does SEMSA host?

SEMSA’s first event, Careers in Sports and Exercise Medicine, saw over 110 SEMSA members learn from leading clinicians about their journey in sports and exercise medicine.  Dr Peter Brukner (Australian Cricket Team doctor), Dr Rohan Price (orthopaedic surgeon (OrthoSport Victoria)), Mr David Francis (Collingwood Football Club head physiotherapist) and Dr Andrew Aldous (Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians registrar) inspired our members with stories of the starts of their careers in sports medicine and their ongoing passion for the speciality. Our members also gained some practical tips on concussion management from leading expert, Dr Michael Makdissi, and Williamstown club doctor, Dr Liam West.

SEMSA will continue to hold events and workshops in conjunction with Sports Medicine Australia and the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians. The next events will include tendinopathy, women in sport and the journey of an injured player through treatment and recovery.

SEMSA was established in Melbourne, with its early membership base primarily comprised of students from Victorian universities studying medicine and allied health degrees. 2017 will see the expansion of SEMSA into NSW, and by 2018, the association aims to be recognised nationwide, with subcommittees in each state.

In doing this, SEMSA hopes to form relationships with various universities and their student societies, to promote sport and exercise medicine as an important subject in health science degrees. It is our goal to have sport and exercise medicine taught as part of university curricula, through lectures, workshops and placements, because that’s what students want [3]!

The committee is very excited to be part of a student organisation dedicated to sport and exercise medicine in Australia. We hope that it will encourage students and clinicians to consider it as a career, and understand the importance and scope of this emerging health field.

Further information about SEMSA

 Please visit our website

Connect on social media

Twitter: @SEMSA_Vic


Jacob Jewson, a medical intern, has learned a lot about Sport and Exercise Medicine over the last two years. He has longstanding passion for sport, particularly cricket and Aussie rules football, and found that sports medicine is a perfect fit. During his degree, he undertook research in Achilles tendinopathy. He also worked with amateur and professional football clubs around Melbourne. Now, as secretary of SEMSA, he oversees meetings and decisions to facilitate growth of the association and member events. Jacob is extremely excited about what SEMSA can offer its members in the future, and the growing global community of SEM practitioners.

Jonathan Shurlock is an academic foundation year doctor based in Sheffield, UK. He co-coordinates the BJSM Undergraduate Perspective blog series. Please send your blog feedback and ideas to:; or Tweet @J_Shurlock


  1. Pina IL, Apstein CS, Balady GJ, et al. Exercise and heart failure: A statement from the American Heart Association Committee on exercise, rehabilitation, and prevention. Circulation 2003;107(8):1210-25
  2. Myers VH, McVay MA, Brashear MM, et al. Exercise training and quality of life in individuals with type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes care 2013;36(7):1884-90
  3. Osborne SA, Adams JM, Fawkner S, Kelly P, Murray AD, Oliver CW. Tomorrow’s doctors want more teaching and training on physical activity for health. British journal of sports medicine 2016


(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)