Dr Ken Fitch has dedicated his working life to the field of sports medicine and in particular to the management and operation of Australian Olympic teams.
Fitch received his early medical education in Adelaide as there was no medical faculty in Perth at the time. During vacations in his medical course he was employed by the Royal Perth Hospital as a pharmacy assistant.
As a Subiaco General Practitioner he became interested in health programmes particularly those related to sports. In 1969 he established a sports and soft tissue injury clinic which he headed until July 2001. He commenced swimming classes for asthma sufferers in 1971 and established national sports medicine courses for doctors in 1981.
For 40 years Fitch has played a leading role in sports medicine. From the Olympic games of 1972 onwards he has served as a physician and from 1975 to 1984 he was the chief physician at each Olympics.
He has always been at the fore in relation to the well being of athletes as shown by his involvement in no less than 12 Olympic Games. Within the Australian Olympic Committee, Fitch was the Sports Medicine Delegate from 1973 to 1985, Medical Officer at the 1972 Munich Games, Senior Medical Officer at the 1976 Montreal Games, Principal Medical Officer at the 1980 Moscow Games, and Senior Medical Director at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. He was secretary of the Olympic Medical Commission of Australian from 1981 to 1985 and Chairman since 1985, overseeing all sports medicine services for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
He has been chairman of the Oceania National Olympic Committee Medical Commission since 1984 and has been a Member of the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission from 1985 and chairman of the IOC Medications Advisory Committee since 1991. Fitch has been a Member of the International Association of Olympic Medical Officers from 1972 and was President from 1989 to 1992.
In 1985 he became a Member of the Australian Sports Commission’s National Program on Drugs in Sport, later renamed the Australian Sports Drug Agency, and was Deputy Chairman from 1987 to 1992. Fitch played an instrumental role with the recognition of the AGAL in Pymble NSW as an IOC accredited laboratory leading in the fight against drug abuse in sport.
His interest in sport seems unending, he is currently the team doctor for the West Coast Eagles Football Club. Fitch has also being involved with the Australian Institute of Sport since 1974 in various roles and committees and is currently the Medical Consultant at the University of Western Australia Department of Human Movement and Exercise Science.
Fitch has written extensively on sports medicine, illustrated by more than 58 articles in preferred journals, 28 book chapters and has been editor of seven books.
In 1979 Fitch was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his service to sports medicine. In 2021 Ken was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to sports medicine at the national and international level through a range of roles, and to medical education.