Physical Activity and Sports for Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction
By Detlef Dumon



ICSSPE and the Freie Universitšt Berlin, in co-operation with Germany's Federal Ministry of the Interior, will hold a conference including a round-table talk to continue discussion on impact sport and physical activity may have on traumatised people.

Trauma may rise from the incapacity to react to a life threatening situation. The overlapping reaction of the sympathetic and parasympathetic part of the autonomous nervous system in a shock situation can be described as hitting accelerator and break at the same time. The process to overcome this experience is divided into different steps and there seems to be common agreement among experts that immediate therapy can help avoiding a post traumatic stress disorder.

Experts at last October's seminar on Rehabilitation through Physical Activity and Sport in the Tsunami Affected Area of Southeast Asia in Bangkok discussed ways and times in which sport and physical activity could be included in the relief process of individuals and into societal reconstruction activities. Participants had controversially discussed if sport and physical activity can be part of immediate help, but there was concensus that sport and physical activity should be part of a long term reconstruction process. Psychologists and therapists are convinced that freeing traumatic areas, stabilising the condition of a victim and reinforcing self- function might be supported by careful physical exercise.

The upcoming event will offer a forum for representatives of sport, sport science and physical activity, psychology and development. Despite the experience that local populations often know best what type of help is being needed under specific conditions, such as the variety of consequences after the Tsunami in Southeast Asia in Dec 2004, organisers of the round-table aim to further explore the integration of sport and physical activity into the process of personal rehabilitation and the re-development of civil structures.

The event will be held at the ICSSPE headquarters in Berlin's Olympic Parc 20-21 January 2006. The Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport, Indonesia, and a member of the National Olympic Committee of Indonesia have announced their participation.