Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) and Laliga, the Spanish professional league will collaborate more closely to develop strategies for safe return to sport during Covid-19, considering the significant impact of the disease on sports in general but particularly football.
Aspetar 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 organisation of AZF, will exchange knowledge with LaLiga, focusing on the ongoing Covid-19 developments and the impact on athletes’ performance and the broader sports community, on the basis of the strategic partnership launched between the two parties in 2019.
Aspetar and LaLiga held a virtual meeting last week to discuss the medical developments with regard the return to the competitions and the safety of players during the Covid-19 pandemic. Aspetar group of experts from various medical specialties, and a number of officials from LaLiga attended the meeting.
Aspetar and LaLiga also discussed: Issues related to detection and management of athletes and support staff who contracted Covid-19; effective quarantine arrangements; the different tests required; the current incidence of Covid-19; the sensible use of face masks and its role in preventing coronavirus transmission, and finally, the most important challenges faced, and lessons learnt after returning to training and competition.
Dr Abdulaziz al-Kuwari, CEO of Aspetar, member organisation of Aspire Zone Foundation, said: “We are thrilled to announce a scientific collaboration with such a prestigious organisation like LaLiga, one of the most popular leagues in the world. We strongly believe that our partnership with LaLiga 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 full potential. Now, we have a crucial role more than ever in that regard amid the unprecedented time of Covid-19,” Dr al-Kuwari added.
Guillermo Heredia, LaLiga’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 co-ordination 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.”
Aspetar published the “Aspetar Clinical Guideline: safe return to sport during Covid-19” in June 2020, developed by a group of 27 Aspetar and international experts under the leadership of Dr Emin Ergin. The objective of this guideline, shared with Aspetar partners in Qatar and worldwide, is to limit/mitigate the risk of further spread of coronavirus infection and reduce health problems associated with Covid-19, both in sports and society in general.
Aspetar initiated in early April the very 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.
Aspetar’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 prioritises extensive clinical, research and education collaboration with individuals, institutions and organisations both 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 Programme (ASPREV).
This new collaborative initiative between Aspetar and LaLiga is part of a series of steps to actuate the October 2019 AZF-LaLiga memorandum of understanding, to collaborate in various areas, including sports education and different strategic projects and knowledge exchange.
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