Dr Rhodri Martin is the first NHS consultant in Sports and Exercise Medicine to be appointed in Wales.
His role with Cwm Taf University Health Board offers the same expertise to his patients as football stars Gareth Bale or Aaron Ramsey, as Dr Martin is also the pitch-side doctor for the Wales football team.
He also works as a team doctor with Bath Rugby club and sports physician at the elite performance unit in Sport Wales.
Dr Martin completed the majority of his higher specialist training in sport and exercise medicine in Cwm Taf University Health Board and has been employed as a locum consultant for three years.
“Sport and exercise medicine is a new medical specialty here in the UK, and this is the first consultant post to be created in Wales,” Dr Martin said.
“The vision and commitment that Cwm Taf University Health Board has demonstrated in creating this new role is simply brilliant, and ground-breaking here in Wales.”
The main concept of the specialty having the skill set ‘to keep active people active, and also to help the inactive become active’, he said.
“We know that being physically active is hugely important for health and wellbeing but unfortunately the majority of the population are not active enough to benefit their health.
“Helping to support people being active is therefore hugely important, and sport and exercise medicine consultants are ideally positioned to help with this.”
Sport and exercise medicine consultants have a unique training in optimising the conservative management of musculoskeletal conditions as well as specialist expertise in exercise prescription/interventions.
Dr Martin works alongside specialist physiotherapists, podiatrists, nurses and GPs.
He also works closely with orthopaedic and rheumatology colleagues to ensure patient care is optimised.
“The support I have had from colleagues in the health board so far has been fantastic,” he said.
“There has been a great enthusiasm for the appointment of a sport and exercise medicine consultant and it’s great to be a part of such a great team of specialists.”
Dr Martin was involved in the development of the Joint Care Programme in Cwm Taf, which has been a hugely successful exercise and dietary intervention to help improve pain and function in patients suffering with osteoarthritis.
“We know that lifestyle has a huge impact on nearly all aspects of health, and in recent years its benefit in the management of lower limb osteoarthritis has been repeatedly demonstrated in research studies.
“The Joint Care programme was implemented to help facilitate lifestyle changes in patients, and also providing specific, tailored exercise programmes for individuals with lower limb osteoarthritis.”
His patient list largely includes those suffering with osteoarthritis but he also runs a monthly specific sport and exercise medicine clinic where he will see injured amateur athletes, sportsmen/women unable to get back to their desired sport or exercise.
“I find it hugely rewarding helping individuals return back to full fitness after injury, and it’s great to be able to provide this service to the population of Cwm Taf,” he said.
“I think every health board would benefit from having a sport and exercise medicine specialist.
“The appointment of sport and exercise medicine consultants in other countries has already shown to be hugely beneficial. I hope to be able to replicate these successes and demonstrate here in Wales just how much benefit a specialist like me can add.”