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Five years ago, in the Aspetar Journal’s first targeted topic on cartilage injury in sports, I started my editorial with:


« As you receive this issue, I hope you are enjoying a fantastic summer of sport, watching the pinnacle of sporting achievement – the Olympic Games – where many athletes will be accomplishing more and pushing themselves harder than any have before them, as they fight for a spot on the podium.

I frequently ask myself though, what is the price these young champions will pay in the future, after their sporting careers are over? Often the answer to this question is “osteoarthritis”. «


This year, during the Tokyo Olympic Games, our targeted topic is “Knee Joint Preservation” and we can state the following: 

·       Research studies still confirm that prevalence of OA (knee and hip) in retired elite athletes is between 28 and 60% compared to 12 to 15% in the general population.

·       The restoration of damaged articular cartilage in athletes’ knees remains one of the biggest challenges in sports surgery.

·       Current treatment modalities have their benefits and shortcomings. Improvement of the existing techniques and innovative approaches are required to improve the results. Knowledge and understanding of the available surgical techniques is critical to the appropriate use of the intervention.


Since the last Olympic Games scientists, researchers, and clinicians have published numerous papers that research the problem of knee preservation. For that reason, I decided to return to this topic and re-examine how surgery and science share their insights on the pace of cartilage lesion treatment evolution. The goal of this targeted topic is to update our knowledge on what today’s sports medicine providers need to know when assisting athletes with knee cartilage pathology. 


Our guest editors, Dr Khalid Al-Khelaifi and Dr Manos Papakostas, have brought together Aspetar’s surgical team, as well as Aspetar’s visiting experts from all around the world for this targeted topic on Knee Preservation. Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Al-Khelaifi is one of the new generation of leaders in the field, with extensive clinical expertise and deep scientific knowledge. His colleague at the Aspetar Cartilage Centre of Excellence, Dr Papakostas, is an orthopaedic surgeon and former track and field athlete, who has a great passion for sports cartilage injuries.


I sincerely thank guest editors, Dr Al-Khelaifi and Dr Papakostas for their hard work that has made this outstanding issue, “Knee Joint Preservation”, possible. 


I also take this opportunity to thank Professor Mats Brittberg, who established “Aspetar Cartilage Centre of Excellence” 10 years ago, for his generous contribution of time and effort, through all these years, that made our cartilage project possible. 


Finally, I draw your attention to the inspiring interview with FIBA’s EuroBasket «Women Most Valuable Player of the Year 2021», Sonja Vasic. Kudos to the perfect interviewers, her Serbian countrywoman, Dr Lana Krzman, sports and exercise medicine specialist and former

international basketball player herself.


Nebojsa Popovic MD PhD


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From the Editor

Volume 10
Targeted Topic - Knee Joint Preservation
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