How did you first become interested in sports medicine?
I grew up in a time before the existence of television, computers, and mobile phones. Children and adolescents had to occupy themselves with leisure time activities of their own choice and without the guidance of their parents. When I was very young I had the privilege of growing up in a small town in which participating in sport was the overall dominant activity for more or less everybody in my surroundings. I had some talent, so it was natural that sports activities swallowed me totally. I therefore developed a strong interest and working knowledge of some of the major sports.
After being accepted into the School of Medicine at University of Göteborg, Sweden it was natural for me to try to combine my very strong interest in sports with medicine. It was an early decision to look for courses in the area of Sports Medicine. The only problem was that it hardly existed as an independent entity at that time… in other words when I was ready to specialize, the discipline of Sports Medicine didn’t really exist! The closest and most developed area around 1970 was exercise physiology, so I started to work with some of the great scientists in this field such as Bengt Saltin and Gunnar Grimby. My first publications were with them in 1972.
With time, I realized I was better suited and more interested in working with sports orthopedics, which includes the use of surgery to treat sports injuries of the musculoskeletal system, and I was very fortunate to find a great individual and athlete with the same interest - Lars Peterson in Göteborg, Sweden. As a team, we strongly promoted Sports Medicine in the region and in the country. We were fortunate to be part of the rapid development of this area which occurred during the 1970´s and the 1980´s. We have always felt at home in the discipline of Sports Medicine as our expertise in sports had given us an edge in dealing with some of the issues faced. For example, we could understand the athlete´s terminology, the loads on the body endured through sport, the specific injury mechanisms, and so on.