A History of British Sports Medicine

By Vanessa Heggie

A History of British Sports Medicine


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9128-5
  • Pages: 236
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: November 2013
  • BIC Category: History, History & Archaeology, History, 20th century, c 1900 to c 1999, MEDICAL / Sports Medicine, HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century, Sports Injuries & Medicine, Humanities / 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, History of Medicine


This book offers a comprehensive study, and social history, of the development of sports medicine in Britain, as practised by British doctors and on British athletes in national and international settings. It takes as its focus the changing medical concept of the 'athletic body'. Athletes start the century as normal, healthy citizens, and end up as potentially unhealthy physiological 'freaks', while the general public are increasingly urged to do more exercise and play more sports. The book also considers the origins and history of all the major institutions and organisations of British sports medicine, and shows how they interacted with and influenced international sports medicine and sporting events.

As well as being an important read for anyone interested in 'body history', this volume will be essential reading for those studying or researching the history of modern medicine, sports, or twentieth-century Britain more generally.


This is a timely history of a narrow specialty told in a way that will interest a much wider audience.
Jon Agar, Endeavour, 12/12/2011

The book can - and should - serve as a stimulus for further advancing our understandings of the history of sports medicine, of exercise science, and much more.
Roberta J Park, Sport in History, 15/02/2012

(carves) out a useful niche in the growing sophistication of empirical research around the historical development of sports medicine and adds to the developing rapprochement among histories of the body, sport history, and histories of modern medicine
Patricia Vertinsky, Twentieth Century British History, 27/02/2012

The book is well researched and nicely paced....Heggie presents a convincing argument about the reconceptualization of the athletic body throughout the twentieth century, which shifts the focus away from the establishment of medical committees and sporting organizations, which is a refreshing perspective
Julie Anderson, University of Kent, The British Journal for the History of Science, 01/03/2012

An important and interesting contribution to the sport science debate
Susanna Hedenborg, Department of Sport Science, Malmö University

'A History of British Sports Medicine' is a fine addition to broader social histories of medicine and should be of interest to all historians of medicine and sport ... this is an interesting and well-researched book on a subject'
Social History of Medicine 25 (2) May 2012



The Aberdare Literary Prize


1. Introduction: What is sports medicine?
2. Moderate Individuals: Beginnings, 1900-27
3. Ideal Citizens? Research and injuries, 1928-52
4. Making Champions: Boundaries, 1953-70
5. Sport for all and the inert majority, 1970-87
6. Conclusion: Specialty, 1988-2005


Vanessa Heggie is Birmingham Research Fellow in the History of Medicine at University of Birmingham

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