Dr Peter Brukner : Recipient of 2023 Victorian Sport Award

The most prestigious honour bestowed at the Victorian Sport Awards, the Outstanding Contribution to Victorian Sport Award is presented to an individual or organisation in recognition of outstanding achievement in, or contribution to, sport in Victoria.

For more than 50 years of service to sports medicine, nutrition and volunteering in a career that has spanned half a dozen sports and two Olympic campaigns, this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Victorian Sport Award is Dr Peter Brukner OAM.

A medical doctor and specialist sports and exercise medicine physician, Peter has treated thousands of elite and community level athletes through involvement with five Australian national teams (swimming, hockey, athletics, football and cricket), 50 years of service to the Melbourne University Football Club (MUFC, particularly University Blues) along with significant contributions to the Toorak East Malvern Hockey Club, Powerhouse St. Kilda Hockey Club and athletics at a state and national level.

Playing a key role in the development of sports medicine as a medical specialty in Australia, Peter founded the two largest clinics of their kind in this country with the Olympic Park Sports Medicine Centre in 1987 and Imaging @ Olympic Park in 2010 which focuses on musculoskeletal radiology.

He also was a foundation member of the Australasian College of Sports Physicians and served two terms as President, dedicating his time to improving the safe and effective application of medicine through all physical activity while advancing the skills of physician members.

World renowned for his expertise, Peter has the distinction of being the only Australian ever elected to the American College of Sports Medicine board and he also held the role of Head of Sports Medicine & Sports Science at Liverpool Football Club from 2010-12.

His involvement at a national team level began in 1991 with Athletics Australia when he attended the World Track & Field Championships as Australian Team Doctor. He did the same in 1995 while also serving at the 1992 World Cup and 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Peter then transitioned to Australian Athletics Team Manager for the 1998 Commonwealth Games, 1999 World Track & Field Championships and 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

His contributions to athletics continued as a national selector from 2006-08 and on the High Performance Committee where he currently resides.

Alongside athletics, Peter was Australian Team Doctor at the World University Games in 1983, 1985 and 1987. He was Team Doctor for the Australian Swim Team (Dolphins) between 1986-87 which included the World Swimming Championships, Australian men’s hockey team (Kookaburras) from 1994-95, Australian men’s football team (Socceroos) from 2007-10 including the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the Australian men’s cricket team between 2012-17 that included victory at the 2015 ICC World Cup.

One of the toughest periods of his career came during the tragic death of Phillip Hughes in November 2014 when Peter worked nearly three days straight providing regular updates to the media on Hughes’ condition while positioning himself as the go-between for family, teammates, hospital staff and the media.

Across an incredibly expansive career, Peter also served as Team Doctor for Victorian hockey Under-16, Under-18, Under-21 and Open Age sides during national Championships, sat on the Hockey Victoria High Performance Committee from 2005-08 and was a Hockey Australia board member from 2009-10. In the AFL, he was Collingwood’s Senior Club Doctor and Consultant Club Doctor for the Melbourne Football Club during their 2021 Premiership.

A passion that has developed in the past few years following personal health issues, Peter has become an advocate for improved nutrition and founded SugarByHalf, a not-for-profit aiming to reduce sugar-related diseases and improve education around living healthier lives.

He published ‘A Fat Lot of Good’ in 2019 and ‘The Diabetes Plan’ in 2023, two of 16 books he has authored in addition to 117 research papers and what many consider the ‘bible’ of sports medicine, ‘Brukner & Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine’.

On the academic side, Peter was Associate Professor in Sports Medicine at University of Melbourne from 2001-06 and a Lecturer in Sports Law for 17 years. The Foundation Chair of the La Trobe University Sport & Exercise Medicine Research Centre, Peter now currently holds the role of Professor of Sports Medicine at La Trobe.

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