We refer to the article, “The evolution of sports medicine in Singapore”, by Dr Benedict Tan, which was published in the October issue of Singapore Medical Journal.(1) In the article, it is mentioned that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) “was also where two branches of sports medicine (underwater medicine and aviation medicine) developed in Singapore.” This statement is incorrect. Aviation medicine and underwater medicine are two distinct fields of medicine, and are not “branches of sports medicine”.(1) Aviation medicine was developed from human physiology limitations associated with altitude exposure, specifically when flying in aeroplanes.(2) It is not linked to exercise and sports, which is the area that sports medicine deals with.

In Singapore, it is recorded in the history of the SAF Medical Corps that the practice of both aviation medicine and underwater medicine started in the late 1960s to the early 1970s, and was already deeply entrenched in SAF by the time sports medicine was introduced to SAF in the 1980s.

Yours sincerely,
Jarnail Singh, Robin Low
492 Airport Road, Singapore 539945. robinlow14@gmail.com

1. Tan B. The evolution of sports medicine in Singapore. Singapore Med J 2013; 54:552-4.
2. DeHart RL, ed. Fundamentals of Aerospace Medicine. Philadelphia: Lea and Febiger, 1985: 18.