Robert E. Leach, MD, Receives a Standing Ovation
Columbus, Georgia – April 22, 2017- Robert. E. Leach, MD, received a standing ovation as he ended his presentation on the birth of sports medicine and the American Journal of Sports Medicine in Columbus, during Thursday’s afternoon session of the Hughston Society Biennial Meeting.
During his invigorating speech, Dr. Leach talked about the history of the American Journal of Sports Medicine and how Dr. Hughston influenced not only the start of the journal but also the role he played in helping to form the subspecialty of sports medicine. Dr. Leach explained that when Dr. Hughston was on the sidelines at football games and treating athletes in his orthopaedic clinic, he was also working with other physicians, 75 in fact, across the country, to form the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM). Once the association was created, they began looking for a sports medicine journal. Medical journals, at the time, looked down on sports medicine research, and often rejected manuscripts for publication. Dr. Hughston was teaching other physicians and wanted to share his knowledge among his sports medicine colleagues. So AOSSM purchased a journal called the Journal of Sports Medicine, and soon renamed it to the American Journal of Sports Medicine. For these two achievements, Dr. Hughston will be forever recognized as one of the founding fathers and of having been truly dedicated to the field of sports medicine.
Dr. Hughston served as President of AOSSM 1974-1975; Editor of the American Journal of Sports Medicine from 1972 to 1990; and Chairman of the American Journal of Sports Medicine from 1990-2001. He also received the Mr. Sports Medicine Award from AOSSM in 1976, which later became known as the Robert E. Leach, MD, Sports Medicine Leadership Award.
Robert E. Leach, MD, past editor of the American Journal of Sports Medicine from 1989 to 2001 and president of the journal’s Board of Trustees from 1989 to 1991, finished his story by saying, “Dr. Hughston was a pioneer. He was an innovative, caring individual. He was a first-class taskmaster. He was tenacious and a finisher. And he loved Auburn. Most of all, he was a real teacher. And for all of that, in my opinion, Dr. Hughston is the father of sports medicine and the father of the American Journal of Sports Medicine.”
And with those last words, everyone in the room stood.