Aspetar Sports Injury and Illness Prevention Programme (ASPREV)

The Aspetar Sports Injury and Illness Prevention Programme (ASPREV), led by Professor Roald Bahr, was launched in November 2012. By establishing ASPREV, which is based on the two main conjoined elements of research and implementation, Aspetar created a sustainable long-term research programme on injury and illness prevention.

Designed to build on the existing strengths of Aspetar and the National Sports Medicine Program (NSMP), ASPREV aims to form collaborative relationships with individuals, institutions and organisations both locally, regionally and internationally to implement applied, ongoing and original research developed within the framework and long-term strategy of both the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

ASPREV’s research on epidemiology, risk factors and injury mechanisms for football injuries is based on data routinely collected from Aspetar’s numerous clinical departments and their research, including the Athlete Screening Department’s annual Periodic Health Examination (PHE), which targets key groups of athletes to look for any risk factors for injury or illness. All Qatar Stars League (QSL) players are required to complete the PHE, which, as of 2013, now includes a more extensive range of additional examinations covering musculoskeletal, cardiac, pulmonary and dental health, amongst others. PHE data has been captured on 559 players since its implementation in 2013, offering ASPREV a very significant insight into a large group of athletes.

In addition, a surveillance programme (FLFC) has been established to collect injury and exposure data covering QSL athletes, and is currently being expanded to also include monitoring sleep and wellness. Any injuries needing imaging or more extensive treatment, such as surgery or rehabilitation, are referred directly to Aspetar, again providing us with the opportunity to collect in-depth data on the pathology and outcomes of specific types of injuries. The programme also covers projects in international sports, including handball and volleyball.

By setting up knowledge translation mechanisms to share scientific research results, ASPREV enables the implementation of injury and illness prevention strategies within the clubs based on the F-MARC risk management model, and facilitated by feedback of relevant data from the PHE and FLFC, allowing each club to compare their experience to benchmark data from the QSL and elsewhere.

The objectives and activities within ASPREV are closely aligned with those of the IOC, and in November 2014 Aspetar was recognised as an IOC Research Centre for the Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health.