Aspetar, LaLiga Collaborate on Strategies for Safe Return to Sport During Coronavirus

Published August 2nd, 2020 - 06:25 GMT
Photo: Qatar Tribune
Photo: Qatar Tribune

Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) and La Liga, the Spanish professional league, will collaborate more closely to develop strategies for safe return to sport during COVID-19, considering the significant impact the disease has had on sports in general, and football in particular.

The initiative comes as part of the strategic partnership launched in 2019 between the two organizations.

Aspetar has recently published the ‘Aspetar Clinical Guideline: Safe Return to Sport During COVID-19’. Building on its exceptional expertise in clinical sports medicine, research and education, Aspetar, a member Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF), will exchange knowledge with La Liga, focusing on the COVID-19 developments and the pandemic’s impact on athletes’ performance and the broader sports community.

Aspetar and LaLiga held a virtual meeting recently to discuss the medical developments with regard the return to the competitions and the safety of players during COVID-19. Aspetar experts from various medical specialities and a number of officials from La Liga attended the meeting.

Aspetar and La Liga discussed the issues related to detection and management of athletes and support staff who contracted COVID-19; dffective quarantine arrangements;the different tests required; the current incidence of COVID-19; sensible use of face masks and its role in preventing coronavirus transmission; and the most important challenges faced, and lessons learnt after returning to training and competition.

Dr Abdulaziz Al Kuwari, CEO of Aspetar, said: “We are thrilled to announce a scientific collaboration with such a prestigious organisation like La Liga, one of the most popular leagues in the world. We strongly believe that our partnership with La Liga will help catalyse further efforts in the research field.

“It reinforces Aspetar’s status as the pioneer sports medicine and research hospital and demonstrates our commitment to fulfilling our mission to assist athletes in achieving their maximum performance and potential. Now, we have a crucial role more than ever in that regard amid the unprecedented time of COVID-19.”

Guillermo Heredia, La Liga’s International Development manager for Middle East, North Africa, Russia and India, said: “We are happy to have shared with Aspetar our latest developments and health protocols with regards to the return of the competition and the safety of our players. With the coordination of other European leagues as well as industry institutions and clubs, we worked with the CSD and the health authorities on two ambitious protocols -- a Training Tour Protocol and a Match Protocol. Thanks to these projects and their set of strict rules and recommendations, the clubs were able to train again with all the safety measures for health, and the matches were held again on June 11, 2020.”

The ‘Aspetar Clinical Guideline: Safe Return to Sport During COVID-19’, published in June 2020, was developed by a group of 27 Aspetar and international experts under the leadership of Dr Emin Ergin. The objective of the guideline, shared with Aspetar partners in Qatar and worldwide, is to limit/mitigate the risk of further spread of COVID-19 infection and reduce health problems associated with it, both in sports and the society.

Aspetar initiated in early April the successful athlete and support staff education service ‘Aspetar COVID-19 Evidence for Athletes Service’, a unique platform on its official website available in English and Arabic. This service provides athletes and those involved in athlete healthcare with evidence-based and relevant information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

spetar’s sports medicine clinicians and scientists are involved in many sports medicine and science research projects and annually publish more than 170 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals. Aspetar prioritizes extensive clinical, research and education collaboration with individuals, institutions and organizations, locally, regionally and internationally, to implement applied, ongoing and original sports medicine and science research. These collaborations are embedded in different initiatives, including protocols to treat common injuries in football, such as ACL and Hamstring injuries, and research on injury prevention through the Aspetar Sports Injury and Illness Prevention Program (ASPREV).

This new collaborative initiative between Aspetar and LaLiga is part of a series of steps to actuate the October 2019 AZF-La Liga memorandum of understanding to collaborate on various areas, including sports education and different strategic projects and knowledge exchange.

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