History of sports medicine - 800bC-501bC

776 BC

The first Olympiad caused a revolution in the world of sports. The winners of the different contests assured themselves of a social status similar to those of the current professionals. In most cases they became trainer, coach or even director of a gymnasium. Once they were accepted as a trainer, they also had to be an expert in massage, diet, physical therapy and hygiene. Slowly but surely the trainer-coaches became an important link in the development of athletics and they united themselves in guilds of which one had to become a member.

700 BC

In order to fix fractures, the Shoshone Indians made splints from fresh rawhide which had been soaked in water.

Some Australian tribes made splints of clay. Once they were dried they were as good as plaster.

600 BC

The Indian doctor Sushruta was a keen advocate of the tridosa doctrine which he defended at Benares University during his Medicine studies. As one of the first doctors, he prescribed exercises to his patients and advised them to exercise them daily, only at half power, otherwise they could be deadly. He took also into account the age, strength, physique and diet of the patient. According to Susruta those exercises made the body strong, firm, compact and light, they strengthened the limbs and muscles, ensuring better digestion and skin complexion, preventing them from laziness and reducing the risk of senility. According to him they were absolutely indispensable for better health conservation.

540 BC

The philosopher Pythagoras (570-490 BC), who had been an athlete himself, was the first to prescribe exercise for health reasons in ancient Greece. The exercises consisted of long walks, running, wrestling, discus throwing and boxing.