24 February 2012

launch of Singapore Sports Medicine Network


Singapore, 23 February 2012 - As part of the 19 recommendations spelt out under Vision 2030 last week, the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI), under the Singapore Sports Council (SSC), has mapped out its first five-year plan that will provide seamless and holistic support for national athletes.

2 The SSI has identified three strategies. They are:
High performance sports framework
Building strong internal core capabilities and
Harnessing science & technology.

High Performance Sports Framework

3 The SSI will build a "team around a team" where it continues to develop its capability in all areas of high performance care and management of national athletes and coaches. The SSI has outlined eight key areas to ensure that athletes receive holistic Sports Science and Medicine support (SSM) and have a seamless pathway to evolve from amateur to elite athletes, and into retirement.

4 These areas are:
Developing long term training plans for athletes
Creating a seamless pathway for transition from youth to national athlete
Integrated delivery of SSM disciplines
Institutionalising a national sports medicine network (Singapore Sports Medicine Network)
Establishing comprehensive athlete life planning support
Inculcating sporting values and principles in athletes
Encouraging sports leadership development
Creating a master coach development system.

5 For a start, the SSI will collaborate with Changi General Hospital (CGH), Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) and Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) to create the Singapore Sports Medicine Network (SSMN). Launched today, the SSMN - the first in Asia for such a network for national athletes - will create a decentralised system to provide sports medicine services for Team Singapore athletes beginning 23 February 2012.

6 Speaking at the launch of the SSMN this afternoon, Mr Lim Teck Yin, CEO of the SSC said, "The Singapore Sports Medicine Network is a crucial partnership that brings together all the sports medicine resources and the know-how to care for Team Singapore, and will further enhance the pace of development of sports medicine and extend our reach to a wider sporting community."

7 Currently, about 1,000 national athletes receive their medical clearance and consultations, and physiotherapy and rehabilitation treatments at the SSI that is located at the SSC's headquarters, with some athletes required to visit the SSI as many as five times a week. With the SSMN, Team Singapore athletes who are located far away from the SSI can choose to continue receiving their medical treatment after their first consultation at the SSI, at the nearest SSMN partner hospital - CGH (East), KTPH (North) and TTSH (Central).

8 This will allow the athletes to streamline their treatment, training and personal schedule to an optimum. Lim Sheng Yu, a full time basketball player with the Slingers who visits the SSI about three times a week welcomes the change. He said, "It takes me more than an hour to travel from my home in Woodlands to the SSI, and it is especially hard as our recovery sessions are usually early in the morning the day after a game. It would be great if I could go to KTPH for physiotherapy session as it will not just help me save more than 60% of travel time, but also give me more flexibility in managing my time."

9 To set in motion the leveling up of the sports medicine capabilities in public hospitals in the area of sports injury management for elite athletes, the SSI will put in place the standard of care and service that all partners have to abide by. This will ensure a uniform framework of operation across the network.

Building Strong Internal Core Capabilities

10 To support national athletes effectively, the SSI needs to have a ready pool of proficient SSM specialists in areas such as physiotherapy, nutrition, biomechanics, exercise physiology, sports psychology and nutrition among others. As the SSI seeks to build this pool of experts in the next 10 to 15 years, its immediate five-year plan is to leverage on external expertise and develop schemes to attract, develop and retain talent for the long term.

11 Some of the initiatives the SSI will be implementing include the setting up of several advisory boards and committees to guide the Institute's development, as well as the introduction of several scholarships, training awards, fellowships and exchange programmes to ensure that the Institute is staffed with the brightest SSM minds.

Harnessing Science and Technology

12 With SSI's core capabilities and delivery system in place, the Institute?s winning edge for the athletes will be its ability to intelligently exploit and apply science and technology (S&T) to its systems and processes. Although the SSI currently has S&T initiatives in place, it could benefit from a dedicated programme that will seed and drive sports S&T initiatives.

13 One of the strategies is to promote sports related research not only in SSI, but also in institutions of higher learning and research institutions in Singapore. This will be done through a dedicated research grant to promote SSM research to support our athletes and the local sports industry.

14 Overall, the SSI's efforts in the next five years will lay the foundation for the institute's long term development. It is during this critical period that the SSI will develop the fundamental frameworks and culture that will support the growth of not just SSM in Singapore, but also sporting excellence and Singapore's sports culture as a whole. The SSI aims to give every sports talent in Singapore a chance to realise their potential through its programmes.

13 February 2012

new sports policy in Singapore


Singapore, 13 February 2012 - After seven months of consultation with some 2500 people from the public, private and people sectors, the Vision 2030 Committee released its preliminary recommendations on how sport can be a key strategy to serve Singapore. The recommendations call for more opportunities and access for Singaporeans to play more sports in school, the community and the workplace. Sports capabilities will also be enhanced to support the anticipated growth in quantity and quality of sports programmes.

2 The Vision 2030 Committee is now seeking further input from the Public-Private-People sectors to review the 19 preliminary recommendations resulting from more than 300 ideas generated through the engagement process. Over the next three months, the committee will continue to engage all segments of society to finalise the recommendations on how sport can be used as a national strategy.

3 Revealing the preliminary recommendations, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Mr. Chan Chun Sing said, "In meeting and talking with people, the consensus became clear. Sport can be a national strategy to shape our future, whether we are promoting physical, mental and psychological wellbeing; creating strong leaders with drive and confidence; developing a winning spirit; or uniting us as a nation. It provides many practical, teachable moments."

4 Based on face-to-face discussions with more than 500 people and comments from 2000 unique users on vision2030.sg, the Vision 2030 Committee took a targeted approach to tackle fundamental challenges faced in school, the community and the workplace. The Committee believes the recommendations will improve access for all to quality sports programming. This will begin the process of change that will eventually see Singapore reaping the full benefits of sports.

5 Acting Minister Chan added, "It may take some years to feel the full impact of these changes. It is critical that we lay the foundation now with the end goal in mind - to live better through sports. Through the opportunities created under V2030, we hope people will participate actively in sport, and in the process, become happier individuals, stronger leaders, more active community contributors or proud citizens."

6 The 19 preliminary recommendations have been categorised under Opportunities, Access and Capabilities (Please see Annex B for details).


7 'Opportunities' looks at increasing and sustaining engagement in sport so that people can experience the value of sport throughout their lives. Said Singapore Sports Council's Chief Executive Officer Lim Teck Yin, "Everyone we met spoke of the power of sport to improve lives, and they wanted more opportunities to play sport. Parents, in particular, told us that they wanted more opportunities for children and youth to play more sport in schools. They believe it will help them stay healthy and learn valuable lessons that will make them better persons and more prepared for the workforce and life."

8 A key recommendation to provide more opportunities for sports participation, particularly in schools, is the proposed 'Sports Pathways Committee' to better coordinate the efforts of various stakeholders to strengthen and align sports pathways (i.e. participation opportunities & development). The Ministry of Education (MOE) welcomes the proposal to form this committee, which will better coordinate the efforts of various stakeholders to strengthen and align sports pathways.

9 The initial phase will focus on youth sports development but will consider other aspects of the participation pathway in the post-school years further downstream. The committee will comprise members from Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), MOE, Singapore Armed Forces, People's Association, National Trades Union Congress, tertiary institutions, Singapore Sports School and the Singapore Sports Council.

10 The committee will ensure alignment of sports pathways from the primary school level to the tertiary and post-National Service period by coordinating measures to encourage sports participation, capability development of sports professionals, integrated programme delivery, competition frameworks and facilities development.

11 The committee will also work to increase parental involvement in the school sports scene. The committee will create opportunities for families to participate in programmes and events together, for example those organised by the 'Super Sports Clubs' (see details on Super Sports Clubs below - paragraph 15). Sports families will be able to cheer and support each other on and off the field, through a variety of shared experiences.

12 In preliminary discussions on school sports, MOE has indicated that by the end of secondary school, every child should have learnt to play at least three core sports at the recreational level and have opportunities to continue participating in sports within the community.

13 Through the Physical Education (PE) and Sports programme, MOE will systematically develop the values of sportsmanship and teamwork in students.

14 MOE's long-term plan is to increase the number of hours for PE in schools. A significant amount of PE time will be dedicated towards laying the foundation for learning and playing core sports in the syllabus. This effort will be complemented by intra-school sports competitions to enhance the learning experience.

15 The Vision 2030 Committee also proposes the formation of regional 'Super Sports Clubs' to extend the reach of sports programming. The Super Sports Clubs will be a home base for individuals, families and the community to gather, train and compete in a range of sports, and get together for social or business purposes. The Clubs will provide affordable community-relevant programming and coaching with opportunities for all skill levels and age groups, including fundamental movement skills for young children and modified sports for seniors. Moreover, the Super Sports Clubs will make it possible for the community itself to drive the creation of programming and events. The community can enjoy spontaneous play, compete in league-based competitions or host one-off sporting events.

16 MOE welcomes the concept of the 'Super Sports Clubs' as a platform to augment its own plans. It will consider awarding LEAPS points (formerly known as CCA points) for participation in the 'Super Sports Clubs', as part of its LEAPS Scheme review. The Clubs will also work with schools to enhance opportunities at recreational competitions and lifelong sports participation in the community.

17 The pilot concept for the Super Sports Clubs will be implemented towards the end of 2012. The public are invited to log on to vision2030.sg to vote on the sports they would like to see piloted in the inaugural year.

18 "The Super Sports Clubs will create opportunities for more sports participation beyond the school years. They will provide access to a wide network of affordable, well-designed facilities with quality sports programming. People will also be able to use the Super Sports Clubs as a place for family sports activities, corporate team building and corporate leagues," said Mr Leslie Tan, Future Ready subcommittee co-chair.

19 As a means to encourage working adults to increase and sustain their engagement in sports, the Vision 2030 Committee proposes that SSC work with Corporate Singapore to see companies expand their involvement in sport. The concepts include:
Leveraging on sport for leadership development and learning
A competitive corporate Sports League
Customised sporting solutions for companies to develop employee loyalty programmes
Appropriate incentives and recognition for companies that support Sporting Singapore


20 Access is about taking a more inclusive approach towards providing sports facilities for the community as well as capitalising on the power of sport for social activism.

21 The Vision 2030 Committee suggests that SSC consider the following in formulating a 'Sports Facilities Master Plan':

Masterplan a good mix and density of sports facilities across Singapore, with the regional facilities as the nucleus for the Super Sports Clubs. The regional facilities would be supported by a network of school and community facilities to cater to the sporting needs of residents
Work with MOE to expand the number and types of Dual Use Facilities to maximise public access e.g. open air basketball, tennis and volleyball courts.
Determine opportunities for co-location with People's Association and other government agencies
Explore the innovative use of space for sports with planning agencies such as the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Housing & Development Board and National Parks Board
Enhance SSC sports facilities through the use of universal design principles to provide better access for the elderly, people with disabilities and people with small children

22 The Committee also recommends a 'SportCares Movement' to use sport to inculcate stronger social values among Singaporeans and to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable segments of our society. The committee is studying the possibility of setting up a foundation to anchor the 'SportCares Movement'.

23 "SportCares will provide an opportunity for Corporate and Sporting Singapore to recognise the diversity of our society - by extending a helping hand to all, to ensure that no one is left behind. As a nation, Singapore has been built by many hands. If Singapore is to thrive in the coming decades, we must provide everyone, regardless of race, religion or status, with every possible opportunity to succeed. Sport can be a powerful vehicle to transform lives," said Dr Teo-Koh Sock Miang, Spirit of Singapore subcommittee co-chair.

24 Added SSC CEO Lim Teck Yin, "Many people do not realise the power of sport to help those who are marginalised. In many countries around the world, sport is used as a powerful vehicle to transform lives - for example, helping former drug addicts or delinquent youth to rebuild their confidence and assimilate back to society through the values and experiences taught through team sports."


25 A key recommendation calls for the establishment of a 'Coaching Academy' to lead the professional development of coaches and the coaching sector in Singapore. The Academy would include mentoring opportunities for coaches and speciality training in working with youth, adults and seniors to meet the growing demand from individuals, schools, sports clubs, national sports associations and corporates. An international advisory panel is expected to be formed to help chart the direction and development of the Academy.

26 These coaches will range from instructors for learn-to-play classes to participation coaches for youth to high-performance coaches for national teams. The Academy will serve as a 'Gold Standard' and establish coaching as a viable and sustainable career choice for Singaporeans.

27 "With the anticipated increase in sports activities, demand for quality coaches in a variety of sports and programmes will go up. The Coaching Academy will be a key vehicle to help us provide quality professional development and mentoring for our coaches. This is an excellent opportunity to develop the local coaching industry into a viable career option. Qualified coaches from the academy would be trained not only in technical but also soft skills to inculcate the core values of sport, helping to spread the positive message of a healthy, vibrant sporting Singapore," said Mr Tan Wearn Haw, Balance to the Rhythm of an Urban Lifestyle subcommittee co-chair.

28 Another key recommendation is a review of the elite athlete support system through the 'Singapore Sports Institute'. The modern athlete is under ever-higher expectations to deliver in environments of increasing difficulty. A centralised institute under SSC, SSI will support our national athletes in achieving break-through performances on the international stage. It will provide systematic and tailored athlete services in sports science and medicine, coaching and education, rights management and career development. We are currently reviewing the way the SSI functions and will be making some recommendations to further enhance the SSI. More details will be announced soon.

Public views on the recommendations

29 "Vision 2030 is an ongoing conversation and we hope that people will give us feedback and help us fine-tune the preliminary recommendations," concluded Acting Minister Chan. These recommendations will be available at www.vision2030.sg for public feedback from now till 15 May. Please refer to Annex B for the full list of preliminary recommendations.

06 February 2012

new studies on physiological effects of massage

In recent years, massage has been considered to have very limited physiological effects (more psychological).


However, there are new studies indicating enhanced recovery of muscle function and attenuation of the damaging effects of inflammation in a animal study (Butterfield et al, 2008) and clinically beneficial by reducing inflammation and promoting mitochondrial biogenesis in human (Crane et al, 2012).