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Youngest President of SASMA- Dr. Sharief Hendricks

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“Leading SASMA is an honour and privilege. I’m the youngest and first non-physician to be president, and what this represents is the bridging of the gap between the clinician and research in sports medicine.”

This is according to Dr. Sharief Hendricks, from the University of Cape Town (UCT) who was chosen as the two-year President of the South African Athletics Medicine Association (SASMA). He is the first medical professional outside of sports to hold the position.

The senior lecturer in the Department’s Division of Physiological Sciences has identified three pillars that will guide him in carrying out his mission: transformation, building a sustainable ecosystem, and giving community work the consideration it deserves. According to Hendricks, South Africans are well known as pioneers in the fields of sports medicine and exercise science.UCT in particular is ranked 49th in the world, according to the Shanghai 2022 Global Ranking of Sport Science Schools and Departments.

With more than 100 high-impact papers, Hendricks has made a substantial contribution to the fields of sports medicine and exercise science. He presently serves as a consultant for the South African Rugby Union, World Rugby, the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA), and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) (SARU).


Strong network

Additionally, he works with universities in England, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as a visiting professor at Leeds Beckett University in the UK.

“We are on a transformation path, and my goal is to implement strategies to facilitate our walk along this path – like a travelator at airports. Also, sports medicine in South Africa is largely enjoyed by elite sports teams, and we can do more to take it to our disadvantaged communities – not only in terms of practice, but also to hopefully inspire more youth to pursue a career in medicine and science in sport,” said Hendricks.

“Within SASMA, we have global leaders who are locally based and a strong network of international colleagues, which we need to tap into to pave the way for the next SASMA generation,” he explained. SASMA also has a journal linked to it, The South African Journal of Sports Medicine, this serves as a training ground for young, aspiring researchers in sports medicine and science.


‘Chop wood, carry water’

Hendricks has won the UCT Young Researcher Award for 2019; he has placed in the top three for the TW Kambule-NSTF Award (given by the National Science and Technology Forum to the nation’s top scientist); and he is a fellow of the European College of Sport Science for his noteworthy contributions to the discipline.

His contributions to the area were recently highlighted in an article about services in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the leading journal in sports medicine (IF 18.47). The article, “‘Chop wood, carry water’ Dr. Sharief Hendricks: an inspirational narrative of an influential South African sports scientist,” encourages young scientists to carry out their daily tasks no matter what the results may be.

Hendricks is now a member of the UCT Next Generation Professoriate Fellowship and the Future Professors Programme Fellowship of the South African Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation. Hendricks was also named one of the 2019 Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South Africans.

Hendricks attributes the work he has done and will continue to accomplish in the fields of sports medicine and science to a number of factors.

Source: University of Cape Town

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