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Doha: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Aspetar have forged a pilot partnership which will pave the way for some of Asia’s best clubs to obtain valuable information on injury occurrence, patterns and prevention.

With the growing demands on players to perform at their optimum level, the study will further augment the AFC’s Vision and Mission to ensure the success of Asia’s players and teams on the world’s biggest stages.

To kick-start the AFC Champions League Injury Epidemiologgy Study, which will include the eight quarter-finalists from this year’s AFC Champions League, club representatives met with Aspetar researchers on Tuesday, June 14 to pilot a study that will systematically investigate injuries and illnesses as the continent’s premier club competition enters its decisive stages.

The pilot programme will be essential to test the feasibility and identify needed adjustments. If successful, further stakeholders within the Asian football family will be invited to join the AFC and Aspetar in the next step: the roll-out to all 32 clubs in the coming seasons of the AFC Champions League.

Research shows that injuries differ significantly between different regions in the world. “While there is abundant information on European players, for example the UEFA Champions League study, we know little about injuries in Asian players,” highlights Dato' Dr Gurcharan Singh, Chairman of the AFC Medical Committee. “This study will finally fill this void and enable us to focus our prevention efforts.”

Maximising the return-on-investment (ROI) and potential outcomes, the study will concentrate on compliance by club medical staff, data quality and reliability, completeness of data, data transmission mode, effective communication as well as potential language and translation difficulties.

“Aspetar is committed to taking our services as a FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence for the region and the Asian continent to the next level,” says Dr Mohamed Ghaith-Alkuwari, Director General of Aspetar. “This pioneering collaborative initiative with the AFC Medical Committee is a critical step in protecting Asia’s player potential.”

“Establishing such surveillance is a milestone on our way towards effective prevention in Asian football,” explains Dr Scott Gillogly, Aspetar Chief Medical Officer. “Once we understand what injuries and illnesses occur, we can implement targeted measures to prevent them.”

Photo: Lagardère Sports