HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY OF TENNIS MEDICINE AND SCIENCE PRELIMINARY STEPS
The Society for Tennis Medicine and Science (STMS) started as an integration of several initiatives that had been developing in tennis sports medicine. In the 1980s, Dr Robert Nirschl organised some of the first meetings directed towards understanding and effectively treating injuries seen in tennis players. People who attended these meetings, held at Hilton Head Island SC, realised that a more systematic approach to diagnosis and treatment of injuries seen in tennis could be beneficial.
In 1986, the USTA re-organised its Sports Medicine Committee, re-named it the Sports Science Committee, and started a new emphasis on research, fitness evaluations, and injury treatment. Dr Nirschl was on that committee, and was joined by Dr Ben Kibler and Dr Bob Leach. Dr Kibler had also met Dr Per Renström, who was the team physician for the Swedish Tennis Federation and who came to the USA in 1987, and they discussed methods of injury treatment and prevention based on better fitness evaluations. In 1989, Dr Kibler was contacted by Dr Paul Shirley, who was working with the ATP, about developing a tennis medicine advisory council for the ATP. Dr Kibler and Dr Shirley met in New Orleans LA in February 1990 to formulate a proposal.
As a result of that meeting, Dr Kibler contacted other physicians who had been involved in sports medicine and tennis, and a formal meeting was held in Sun Valley ID in July 1990. It was determined from that meeting that a sufficient level of interest and knowledge existed to explore a formal organisation to increase and disseminate knowledge in tennis sports medicine. As a result of that meeting, a true organisational meeting was held in New York NY at the US Open in September 1990. Present at that meeting were Dr Renstrom, Dr Kibler, Dr Nirschl, Dr Leach, and Dr Russ Warren.
Several actions came of that meeting:
– The name, Society for Tennis Medicine and Science, was chosen to reflect the mission of emphasising treatment of injuries and conducting research into the basic science of the injuries.
– The goals of the organisation, which were: (1) to provide a forum for interactive discussion among doctors, scientists, therapists and governing bodies; (2) to increase and disseminate knowledge regarding injuries in tennis through research and education; (3) to provide multiple means by which education regarding tennis medicine and science can be accomplished; (4) to systematically study and measure the biomechanical and physiological responses to tennis play, and (5) to define proper rehabilitation for return to tennis play.
– To provide consultative services to other tennis organisations regarding all aspects of tennis science and medicine
– To develop a formal charter and bylaws
– To elect Dr Kibler President and charge him to develop the charter and by laws
– To elect Dr Per Renström vice President and charge him to develop the first meeting of STMS.
– To submit a formal proposal to ATP for a tennis sports medicine advisory council
Dr Kibler obtained legal counsel and the STMS was officially incorporated in February 1991. The founding members of the organisation, who capitalized the initial expenses for the organisation, were Dr Kibler, Dr Renström, Dr Nirschl, Dr Wayne Leadbetter, Dr Peter Jokl, Dr Craig McQueen, Dr Shirley, Dr Warren, and Dr David Altchek. Dr Leadbetter was named Membership Chair, and developed the membership criteria. He also was instrumental in developing the original logo, which eemphasized the science, treatment, and testing mission of the organisation. Dr Jeff Chandler was named secretary/treasurer, and he set up the financial arrangements and published the initial newsletters. Dr Jokl was recruited by Dr Renström to assist with the first educational meeting. He was the tournament physician for the Volvo championships in New Haven CT, and vice chair of Orthopedics at Yale, and agreed to host the meeting at Yale in conjunction with the tournament.
THE FIRST YEARS
Initial efforts were directed towards membership, the first meeting, and development of partnerships with other tennis organisations, mainly ATP and USTA. Dr Leadbetter and his committee sent out many announcements and applications, which resulted in a good level of recruitment- about 60 members were recruited the first year. Dr Jokl was able to put together an outstanding venue for watching tennis and for the educational meeting, with a broad spectrum of tennis science and medicine represented. The meeting was held August 15- 18, 1991, at Yale University. About 90 attendees from USA, Europe, and Japan were present, and most of them joined the organisation, giving it more of an international flavour. Based on the success of this meeting, it was decided to hold the second meeting in 1992 at Yale as well. This meeting, held on August 21- 22, was also a scientific and social success.
Relationships with other tennis organisations were slow to develop, but as STMS proved to be an organisation that could achieve its stated purposes for education and as a forum for interaction and dissemination of information, and was capable of being a resource for different organisations, co-operative endeavours were resumed, and resulted in liaisons with both ATP and USTA for the next meetings. STMS partnered with USTA to hold a tennis science and medicine meeting in Saddlebrook FL on April 30 – May 2, 1993. The primary focus of this meeting was towards USA tennis players and programs. STMS partnered with ATP to hold a meeting at Ponta Vedra FL on October 15-18, 1993. The focus for this meeting was the international emphasis of the ATP. Both meetings presented new information on tennis, established STMS’s reputation for outstanding social activities, and were the first meetings in which basic science talks were emphasised as the basis for understanding the biomechanics and physiology of tennis play and injury. They also set up the framework for future relations with the other organisations.
From inception, STMS had an international outlook because of its initial membership and its mission. The first meeting was named an international meeting, and plans were made for meetings outside of the USA as resources were identified. By the Ponta Vedra meeting, connections had been made with tennis sports medicine doctors in Europe and Australia that would allow STMS to have viable representation and sponsorship in those areas. Dr Hartmut Krahl attended the Ponta Vedra meeting as the guest of Dr Renström, and agreed to host the Second International meeting in Essen Germany, in 1994. His connections with the German Tennis Federation allowed the meeting attendees to watch the Nations Cup tournament as part of the meeting. In addition, he secured an educational grant which resulted in the publication of the papers from that meeting. The book, Tennis: Sports Medicine and Science, was edited by Dr Krahl, Dr Kibler, Dr Renström, and Dr Hans-Gerd Pieper, and still represents one of the most complete summaries of tennis medicine and science. It demonstrates what a multi-disciplinary, multi-national group can accomplish by synergizing its efforts.
Another major benefit from this meeting was the development of regional groups within STMS. The original three groupings were Americas, Europe, and Asia/Australia. It was decided to rotate the international meetings every other year among the regional groups, and to hold regional meetings on the alternative years.
The Third International meeting was organised by Dr Peter Brukner and was held in Melbourne, Australia, in conjunction with the Australian Open. The attendees were able to watch the Open and were treated to typical Australian hospitality. By this time, the concept of STMS being an international body, bringing together doctors and scientists from many disciplines was well established. Further International meetings have been held in Miami FL (1998) hosted by Dr Kibler in association with USTA, ATP, WTA, and the Lipton Championships; in London, England (2000 and 2004), hosted by Dr Michael Turner, the LTA, and the Wimbledon Championships; in Stockholm, Sweden (2002), hosted by Dr Renström and the Swedish Tennis Federation; in Melbourne, Australia (1996, 2006), hosted by Dr Peter Brukner and Dr Tim Wood and Tennis Australia and the Australian Open, and in Antwerp, Belgium (2007), hosted by Dr Babette Pluim, the Flemish and Dutch Associations of Sports Medicine and the Antwerp Open.
The American and European regional groups have continued to have regular meetings in alternative years. These meetings have continued the theme of scientific excellence and enjoyable social activities that make these meetings high quality. The American group has held meetings in Indianapolis IN (1994), Hilton Head SC (1995, 2003), New Haven CT (1997), Palm Springs CA (1999 and 2005), San Juan PR (2001), and Greenbrier WVA (2006). The European group has met in St Anton, Austria (1996), Rome, Italy (1999), Paris (2001), and Barcelona, Spain (2003).
W. Ben Kibler was elected by the original founding members as the first President. Each presidential term was to run four years. Dr Kibler was re-elected to a second term, and continued as President until 1999. He was succeeded by Per Renström. Due to other responsibilities within the tennis world, he resigned in 2002 and was succeeded by Babette Pluim. Dr Pluim combined this job with her responsibilities as editor of the Journal Medicine and Science in Tennis for 5 years, and then was succeeded as President by Dr Marc Safran in 2007. In 2011, Javier Maquirriain was elected new President during the Paris World Congress in Roland Garros. In 2015, Dr. Neeru Jayanthi was elected President during the World Congress in Rome.
JOURNAL AND WEBSITE
The Journal Medicine and Science in Tennis and the STMS website, along with the meetings, are the main methods by which STMS can fulfill its organisational goals to be a forum and a disseminator of tennis specific and tennis related information, and as a catalyst for advancement in tennis sports medicine and science. The Newsletter started as a President’s letter, with information about membership and the educational meetings. In 1995, STMS was fortunate to acquire the services of Dr Pluim as editor. She arranged secure financial backing to expand the focus and increase the frequency of the issues, gathered all the tennis specific information from many sources within the tennis world, reported the proceedings from the STMS meetings, and published original research and interviews. It is now a highly readable and informative source of the latest knowledge for people in all branches of tennis medicine and science. Dr Pluim was also responsible for developing the first STMS website (www.stms.nl) , which contains current and past information about STMS, past and present research, and a message board to develop contacts within the tennis world. Recently, a new official website was launched: http://www.tennismedicine.org
RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
STMS has continued to seek and develop close relationships with all relevant organisations with the tennis world. In the past, it has developed partnerships with the USTA, ATP, WTA, LTA, Tennis Australia, German Tennis Federation, Swedish Tennis Federation, and Flemish Tennis Federation to produce scientific meetings. In addition, STMS members sit on sports medicine committees for the ITF and many national tennis federations, including the Unites States Tennis Association, Lawn Tennis Association, Tennis Australia, Royal Netherlands Lawn Tennis Association, Brazilian Tennis Federation, Argentine Tennis Federation, Italian Tennis Federation, Spanish Tennis Federation, French Tennis Federation and Japanese Tennis Federation. STMS can be a central point for each of these organisations as they attempt to increase knowledge about tennis to increase performance, decrease injury risk, understand the inherent demands of tennis, and prevent tennis injuries.