“Sport is growing in popularity in both spectators and participants,” said Prof Christa Janse van Rensburg, Head of Section Sports Medicine in UP’s Faculty of Health Sciences, during her inaugural lecture on sports and exercise medicine. “Participants may suffer injury and illness, but physical activity may also form part of the management of non-communicable diseases; these realities opened up an opportunity to grow a new community in medicine.”
Prof Norman Duncan, Vice-Principle: Academic, complimented Prof Janse van Rensburg, who is also a sports physician and rheumatologist, on her achievement. “An inaugural lecture represents one of the most important milestones in the careers of academics as it provides them with the opportunity to inform the university, community and academia more broadly about their academic journey.”
During the lecture, Prof Janse van Rensburg offered insight into recent research that she and fellow researchers in the department have been involved in. “Through hard work, we have established ourselves in various areas of research, and the first of these programmes are on the different aspects of travel fatigue and jet lag in athletes. My first publication was a systematic review on how to manage travel fatigue and jet lag in athletes, and it was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine [BJSM]. Subsequent to that, I was invited to write an editorial for the BJSM titled ‘Practical tips to manage travel fatigue and jet lag in athletes’.”
Prof Janse van Rensburg obtained her doctorate – titled ‘The effect of exercise training on the autonomic function, disease activity and functional capacity in females suffering from rheumatoid arthritis’ – in 2012, after she’d received MMed (PhysMed), MSc (Sports Medicine) and MBChB degrees, all from UP.
She has been Head of Section: Sports Medicine at UP since 2000, and has been instrumental in training more than 100 doctors as sports physicians. She also runs a rheumatology practice in her private capacity.
Prof Janse van Rensburg has accompanied many sports teams as a sports physician, both locally and abroad. She was team doctor for the national team during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. In addition, she was appointed as Venue Medical Officer at Loftus for both the FIFA Confederations Cup (2009) and the FIFA World Cup (2010).
She is a National Research Foundation-rated researcher and has published widely in the areas of sports medicine and rheumatology, and has authored and co-authored more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals. She was elected as a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and is the President of Exercise Medicine in South Africa.
“Reflecting on my career, the one word that stands out is ‘opportunity’,” she added. “I was offered opportunities that helped me build my career, and I hope I will create many opportunities for up-and-coming sports and exercise medicine practitioners. I strongly believe that one should aim to add value to the people one comes into contact with, including colleagues, students and patients.”
Watch the full lecture here.