History of sports medicine - 1958


In 1977 Wildor Hollmann's (1925-) definition of 'sports medicine' was formally accepted by the Fédération Internationale de Médecine du Sport (FIMS):

"Sports medicine embodies theoretical and practical medicine that examines the influence of exercise, training and sport, as well as the lack of exercise, on healthy and unhealthy people of all ages to produce results that are convincing for prevention, therapy and rehabilitation, as well as beneficial for the athlete himself. "

As part of his doctoral thesis, Hollmann started a study on ergospirometry in 1949. In 1961 he fully specialized in sports medicine at the Medizinische Universitätsklink Köln (Medical University Hospital Cologne) and in 1964 he was offered the chair of Cardiology and Sports Medicine at the Deutschen Sporthochschule Köln (German Sport University Cologne). But in 1958 he had already set up the Institut für Kreislaufforschung und Sportmedizin (Institute for Cardiovascular Research and Sports Medicine) with the Deutschen Sporthochschule Köln at the Medizinische Universitätsklinik Köln. The main focus of his research was on the impact of body activity and inactivity on health and improving the performance of children to seniors in both healthy and sick people.

He was the leader of the Deutschen Sporthochschule Köln for fourteen years. From 1984 to 1998 he was chairman of the Deutschen Sportärztebundes (German Sports Doctors' Association) and from 1986 to 1994 chairman of the Fédération Internationale de Médecine du Sport (FIMS). In 1990, he held the positions of research and education at the Max-Planck Institut für neurologisch Forschung (Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research) in Cologne and at the Research Center in Jülich where he conducted numerous experimental studies on the role of the brain and mind in relation to physical activity.

As a result of his research activities, more than a thousand theses and more than two hundred dissertations were published. He has written numerous books and more than eight hundred publications. His most important monograph 'Sportmedizin - Grundlagen für körperliche Aktivität, Training und Präventivmedizin' (Sports medicine - basics for physical activity, training and preventive medicine) is a standard work on sports medicine.

Highlights from Hollmann's career:

1954: the introduction of the ergometer bike for training and research purposes and as a clinical and routine research device at the Medizinische Universitätsklinik Köln and from there distributed worldwide

1955: together with engineer Hans-Wilhelm Sander (1937-) the development of the first blood pressure monitor for exercise tests with a microphone on the inside of the elbow. First factory production in 1958 presented in 1960 at the World Exhibition of Electronic Medicine in New York.

1958: propagating the patient's own blood pressure measurement for better identification and treatment of hypertension.

1959: first report of a combined determination of metabolic-related aerobic-anaerobic transition during exercise by means of simultaneous registration of respiratory minute volume and arterial lactic acid levels (lactate). Later distributed worldwide in collaboration with his employees Alois Mader (1935-), Hermann Heck (1960-) and Heinz Liesen (1941-).

1963: development of hypoxia training (oxygen deprivation) in the lab.

1965: first presentation of minimum training programs for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

1966: Establishment of an International Commission at the World Congress of Sports Medicine in Hannover, calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to transform the internationally accepted concept of treating a heart attack with several weeks of bed rest to early mobilization, exercise therapy and rehabilitation. The WHO accepted this proposal in 1977.

1967: development of a hyperoxia training

1967: first drafting with Viktor Baum of a rule of thumb for optimizing endurance training for health purposes (180 minus the age in years).

1973-1974: publication of the training results in elderly with decades of inactivity with the conclusion:

"With suitable physical training, you can stay 40 years old for 20 years."

1974: development of the first fully automated and electronic ergometer bike with Heinz Liesen (1941-).

1976: presentation of the 4-mmol / l lactate threshold with Alois Mader (1935-), Heinz Liesen (1941-), Hermann Heck (1960-), Helmut Philippi (1929-2000), Richard Rost (1942-1998) and Peter Schürch (1960-).

1985: introduction of the term "movement neuroscience" and research planning for the theme "brain, mind and physical activity".

1987: first international description of the regional cerebral circulation during ergometer effort at the Max-Planck-Institut für neurologisch Forschung in Köln.

1991: First international description of glucose metabolism in individual brain sections in combination with ergometer effort in the Forschungszentrum Jülich.

1999: description of the influence of physical activity on brain function in the elderly in the Forschungszentrum Jülich.

 2008: creator of the term 'Cerebrology' for multidisciplinary brain research.


In Milan, Italian Professor Rodolfo Margaria (1901-1983) started the first school for specialization in sports medicine. From 1950, the Italian government required a preventive study for practicing any sport, both for amateurs and professionals. Competition athletes had to undergo annual preventive screening, including their medical history, a clinical evaluation, urine tests, ECG at rest, stress ECG and lung function tests. This evaluation could only be performed by a certified sports physician, who was legally responsible for the accuracy of this assessment.


The governments of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden launched the proposal to include sports medicine in the World Health Organization program.


On the initiative of English lawyer Peter Sebastian, The Institute of Sport and Exercise Medicine was founded in London long before the official recogntion of this specialty.

New Zealand surgeon and army physician Sir Arthur Porritt (1900-1994), who won the bronze medal of the 100m at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, was appointed as first chairman.


Following the 25th anniversary of sports medicine, the Romanian post issued 2,000,000 stamps.