Aspetar, Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, has been publicly awarded with the official plaque identifying Aspetar as an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Research Centre for Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health at the opening ceremony for the IOC Advanced Team Physician Course (IOC ATPC) Conference held in Al Sharq hotel, Doha, from the 5th till the 7th of May.
Protecting athletes’ health and preventing injuries and illnesses in sport are top priorities for the IOC and its Medical Commission. Since 2009, the IOC has partnered with established research centres from around the world which have demonstrated clinical, educational, and research expertise in the fields of sports medicine and elite sports to promote the athletes’ health through the prevention of injury and illness.
Over the years since its foundation, Aspetar has developed a sound partnership with the IOC in clinical, research and educational matters. Due to the quality and dedicated skills of Aspetar’s clinicians, Aspetar partnered in numerous educational events of the IOC, including several IOC ATPCs and the IOC World Conference on Prevention of Injury & Illness in Sport as well as hosting the IOC Cardiology Course in 2014. In November 2014, the IOC accepted Aspetar’s application to become an accredited IOC Research Centre for Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health.
After his welcoming message to the course participants, Dr Mohamed Ghaith Al Kuwari, Acting Director General of Aspetar, received the official plaque identifying Aspetar as an IOC Research Centre for Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health from Dr Richard Budgett, the IOC Medical and Scientific Director, on behalf of the IOC.
Dr Budgett said: “Protecting athletes’ health and preventing injuries and illnesses in sport are top priorities for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its Medical and Scientific Department. The IOC are delighted to have appointed Aspetar, Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Qatar as one of nine IOC Research Centres for Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health to assist with the mission. This centre has demonstrated that they are at the forefront of research in sports medicine and are committed to the IOC’s goal of using and sharing knowledge and resources to ensure the athletes’ well-being so that sportsmen and women can perform at their best level with minimal risks to their health.”
In his comment, Dr Mohamed Ghaith Al Kuwari said: “This represents an important milestone for us, recognition as a Member of the International Olympic Committee Medical Research Network is now one of our achieved goals. It represents a significant international endorsement for our team experts in Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health field.”
The network of the nine research centres under the leadership of the IOC aims to protect and improve the health of athletes. Activities involve long-term research programmes on injury and disease prevention, fostering collaborative relationships with individuals, institutions and organisations and implementing applied, ongoing and novel research and development within the long-term strategy of the IOC.
Aspetar has a recognised track record in screening athletes and is pursuing an ambitious research programme including their Sports Cardiology project a programme entirely dedicated to injury prevention and numerous studies on environmental factors affecting athletes’ health and performance (e.g. exercising in the heat). Through the National Sports Medicine Programme, Aspetar provides care to all athletes in Qatar, offering unique opportunities for research on and implementation of prevention initiatives. Further, Aspetar has a strong education programme including professional education, the Aspetar Scholarship Programme. Aspetar‘s Healthy Lifestyle Programme is systematically educating the community on how to protect their health.
Prior to the IOC recognition in late 2014, Aspetar was accredited as a “FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence” by the FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre F-MARC in 2009, making it only the fifth centre worldwide to hold both accreditations.