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Sports Med History


The USA Fencing Sports Medicine program was created more than  25 years ago by Peter A. Harmer, Ph.D., MPH, ATC, FACSM. Harmer is a Professor of Exercise Science; Department Chair, Human Anatomy, Sports Medicine, and Epidemiology at Willamette University. Early on in his tenure with USA Fencing, Harmer saw a need for sports medicine for the sport of fencing as well as the US Fencing National Team and filled it.

Harmer went onto create a nationwide sports medicine network of athletic trainers and sports medicine practitioners to help support sports medicine coverage for domestic and international fencing events.  Since the inception of the USA Fencing Sports Medicine Program Harmer has defined the program to include four pillars of Community Service, Clinical Practice, Research, and Professional Development. For over 25 years our volunteer sports medicine program has provided community service in the form of education and emergency care to the athletes, their friends/family, and USA Fencing staff.

Clinical practice and research in fencing injury epidemiology have gone hand in hand with Harmer's vision of the program. Harmer has been the first to publish a fencing epidemiology study which has had such wide impact internationally. The international governing body of fencing Federation Internationale d’Escrime (FIE) has now adopted such methods of tracking related fencing injuries in hopes to better protect the sport and its competitors. Actually, The British Journal of Sports Medicine published an 2015 editorial from authors Engerbretsen L. and Steffen K. titled Protection of the elite athlete is the responsibility of all of us in sports medicine, which praised the FIE for its injury reporting system that was adopted from Harmer’s earlier work with USA Fencing. Harmer has continued to publish works related to fencing during his tenure which include a list of research articles, abstracts, and conference proceedings that can be found at the end of this post. Harmer’s professional development of sports medicine practitioners overflowed into providing the opportunity of sports medicine professionals the honor to participate in the sports medicine coverage of domestic events, international world cups, and the even the Olympic Games. (2004 Athens – Lonnie Sellars, ATC. 2008 Beijing – Doug Rank, DPT, ATC, 2012 London – John Carollo, ATC).

In 2012, Dr. Jeremy S. Summers, DC, DACBSP, L.Ac., ATC, took over as Chief Medical Officer as Harmer was ready to step down of 25 years of service. Over the past four years Summers has continued to diversify the sports medicine staff with Certified Athletic Trainers’, Physical Therapists/Doctors of Physical Therapy, Doctors of Chiropractic, Licensed Acupuncturist, and Medical Doctors from around the country. The approach to sports medicine care was modeled after the USOC’s paradigm of a well-integrated multidisciplinary team of practitioners to better serve our athletes and to have a well-rounded team approach.

The future of our sports medicine program is starting to take on a new look and improved approach of how best to serve our sport. As we transition into 2016-2017 season with USA Fencing made a historical move and created a new position, USA Fencing – Director of Sports Medicine. USA Fencing’s Kate Reisinger, Director of High Performance, personally took on the challenge and vision to educate our Board of Directors and the USOC’s High Performance Division of the importance of Sports Medicine availability to our sport.

As of the end of 2015 USA Fencing hired Dr. Summers to fill this position.  Summers brings 25+ years of fencing experience as a former national team member and avid sports medicine practitioner. Summers completed his undergrad in Sports Medicine/Athletic training from Park University, his Doctorate in Chiropractic, and Master’s in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Summers further went on to obtain his Diplomate in Sports Medicine from the American Board of Chiropractic Sports Physician’s.