Given that the SSISA represents a new way of thinking, it’s quite fitting that it was founded in April 1994 - the same year that saw the dawn of the new South Africa.

The formation of the SSISA was born from the idea to develop sport in South Africa. A vision that was initially generated by way of extensive interaction between Morné du Plessis, Professor Tim Noakes and Johann Rupert. Their goal was to provide a facility that would primarily fund research and apply that research to sport, so that athletes of all disciplines could improve their performance. These visionaries also wanted to build public interest in the country’s top sportsmen and women, whose success would create shared pride in South Africa.

This ambitious thinking resonated in the hearts of many and the SSISA received the support of numerous donors, including; Remgro Ltd, Pick n Pay Holdings Ltd, Sanlam Ltd, Goldfields Ltd, SAB Miller PLC, Sasol Ltd and Nissan. Construction work began in Newlands in 1992. 

What made the SSISA vision even more unique, was that it involved the relocation of a university faculty and the development of related activities that would be financially self sustaining.

Today, the University of Cape Town / Medical Research Council (UCT/MRC) Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine (ESSM), headed by Professor Tim Noakes, is housed at the SSISA. This strategic alliance with the University of Cape Town, allows for the interaction between SSISA’s various services and the research and teaching of ESSM. It is this synergy and the ability to deliver a product from inception to the market place that distinguishes the SSISA from similar institutions or organisations.

Since it first opened doors, the SSISA has evolved into a one-stop-shop that offers a range of diverse yet complimentary sports medical services where a client can see a doctor, get a diagnosis, receive the appropriate management and be supported through the required rehabilitation. The SSISA’s extensive services also include a high performance offering, a wellness and fitness centre, a conference facility and a bouquet of social investment initiatives. People come from all over the world to examine the SSISA model; evidence that the initial founding vision has been translated successfully from paper to practice.