Dr Ruth Highet
MBChB, Dip. Obs, Dip. Sports Med (UK), FACSP (Aust), FACSM (USA)
Dr Ruth Highet, Medical Director of Wellington Sports Medicine, was the first New Zealand woman to become a Sports and Exercise Medicine Specialist and one of the first 3 New Zealanders to obtain their specialist qualification in Sports Medicine (FACSEP) in 1993. Her qualifications include MBChB, Diploma Sports Med (London), Diploma in Obstetrics, FACSP (Aust) and FACSM (USA). Ruth has provided a full-time sports medicine practice since 1988 and set up Wellington’s first comprehensive multidisciplinary Sports Medicine clinic at the Wakefield Hospital in 1990. She has also provided an Australian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians Training Post for Specialist training in SEM for Sports Doctors since 1993.
With her youth spent on tennis and badminton courts, Ruth’s interest in Sports Medicine emerged during her doctor training when she started marathon running, running 9 marathons over the next 4years. She switched to Triathlon after returning to NZ from Postgraduate training in the UK in 1986, progressing on to NZ Triathlon Team selection for the 1990 Commonwealth Games Triathlon and several subsequent World Triathlon championships. These experiences enable her to understand the physical and mental challenges facing athletes at all levels of training and performance.
With over 28 years in Sports Medicine, Ruth has been heavily involved in NZ sport at all levels. Her experience and expertise has been recognized in selections as NZ Team Doctor at the 1994 and 1998 Commonwealth Games as well as 1996 and 2000 Olympics. She is the past Medical Director for Bike NZ, NZ Golf, Softball NZ, and Equestrian NZ as well as having been the Medical Director for the NZ Academy of Sport Central, 2001-2007, while it operated in Wellington and remains a Preferred Provider for High Performance Sport NZ athletes. Ruth has also been Medical Director for world championship events in Wellington including mountain running, triathlon, mountain biking, road cycling and diving, as well as international events in athletics, tennis, yachting, swimming, and underwater hockey amongst others. She has a particular interest in youth sports and exercise and has had a close relationship with 30yrs with Wellington Secondary School Sport. Ruth also enjoys teaching and academic sports medicine and frequently has medical students from around the world visiting on their electives. Ruth continues as President of the Wellington branch of Sports Medicine New Zealand; a position she has held for all bar 8 of the last 30 years.
Ruth maintains that a multidisciplinary approach to management of athletic musculoskeletal or medical problems is pivotal in 'best practice' and this was a key aspect in her vision to create the new Wellington SportsMed at the ASB Sports Centre which opened in 2011. She approached Wellington City Council as soon as the ground at Kilbirnie received Resource Consent for an Indoor Sports Centre back in January 2009 regards the possible inclusion of a comprehensive sports medicine clinic and WSM at the ASB Centre developed from there.
In her recreational time, Ruth enjoys working out at the gym, on the mountain bike trails throughout Wellington and beyond, gardening or on her stand-up paddleboard in the Wellington harbour, usually with her chocolate springador Pinot, along for the ride and a swim.