Nov. 30, 2022

UCalgary’s Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre receives global recognition for injury prevention and athlete health

Named 1 of 11 international research centres by International Olympic Committee
Shred Mobile for concussions
From left: Carolyn Emery, Shane Esau, research project manager, and Stephen West, postdoc scholar, by the SHRED mobile.

The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre (SIPRC) in the Faculty of Kinesiology has been named an international research centre for the prevention of injury and protection of athlete health by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). SIPRC is one of 11 research centres that will be members of the IOC Medical Research Network between 2023 and 2026. SIPRC has had this continued honour since 2009 but has to reapply to the IOC every three years.

SIPRC focuses on the prevention of sport-related injuries and their consequences in youth sport populations through to the elite athlete. Preventing injuries in youth, including concussions, can have a significant public health impact in reducing the burden of injuries and their consequences over a lifetime. In Alberta, one in three youth will seek medical attention for a sport-related injury this year, and one in nine will sustain a concussion.

“I would like to recognize the tremendous work of the SIPRC team. This continued partnership with the IOC is a testament to the quality of research and reputation SIPRC, the Faculty of Kinesiology, and the University of Calgary hold internationally,” says Dr. Raylene Reimer, interim dean in the Faculty of Kinesiology.  

The vision of the International Olympic Committee is to Build a Better World through Sport. As an international body with tremendous global influence in promoting health and wellness in sport, the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission recognizes SIPRC as one of the leading sport science research institutes.

“These 11 IOC Research Centres are conducting vital research into athletes’ health and the prevention of sports injuries. The IOC’s desire to keep athletes at the heart of the Olympic movement includes a robust commitment to athlete welfare, and we look forward to partnering with these centres as they explore new ways to prevent injury in athletes,” says professor Uğur Erdener, chair of the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission.

International alignment

SIPRC brings the IOC research community additional expertise in epidemiology, sport medicine, rehabilitation, orthopedics, biomechanics, physiology, psychology, biostatistics, health economics, and implementation from more than 40 researchers at UCalgary and more than 40 national and international collaborators.

“I am thrilled to continue our strong international research collaborations in this International Olympic Committee Medical Research Network,” says Dr. Carolyn Emery, professor, chair of SIPRC, and Canada Research Chair in Concussion. “And to continue to prioritize training the next generation of researchers in sport injury prevention who support a significant public health impact in reducing sport-related injury burden.”

The integration of clinical, educational, and research activities is also key to the success of SIPRC’s research capacity and creates an immediate clinical impact in sport injury prevention and concussion for athletes locally, nationally and internationally.

With the acknowledgement of SIPRC’s hard work and international reputation as top-tier research centre, the IOC has set the bar high in naming SIPRC as one of its 11 global research centres. It is also fair to say that the IOC expects the same and more in terms of producing impactful research and knowledge mobilization from SIPRC over the next three years. It is a bar, however, that Emery and her colleagues at SIPRC are eager to move forward to meeting and surpassing.

Carolyn Emery is the chair of the Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre, a professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and departments of Paediatrics and Community Health Science in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. 

Emery is a member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute; Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute; O’Brien Institute for Public Health; and the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health. Her research program is also supported by funds from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Alberta Innovates, International Olympic Committee, the Hotchkiss Brain Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, O’Brien Institute for Public Health, National Football League Scientific Advisory Board Play Smart Play Safe Program, and National Basketball Association General Electric partnership.

The Faculty of Kinesiology is ranked the No. 1 sport science school in North America and No. 10 globally.