Doha, Qatar: On Tuesday, Aspetar celebrated the ground-breaking success of the Qatar national team’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2019 victory. Aspetar’s medical staff has played an integral part of Al-Anabi’s historic achievement, providing more than 56 days of non-stop support to players, from pre-tournament preparations to bringing back the most prestigious trophy ever in the football history of Qatar.
Aspetar’s family, led by Acting Chief Executive Officer Dr. Abdulaziz Al Kuwari welcomed Qatar’s Head Coach Felix Sanchez and star defender Abdelkarim Hassan, who joined the celebration of the hard work its professionals in support of Qatar national team throughout their successful journey.
In his welcoming remarks, Al Kuwari said: “We are receiving messages of congratulations from all over the world for such a great achievement, which would not have been realised without the collaboration of all our stakeholders. Since its establishment in 2007, Aspetar, the orthopaedic and sports medicine hospital, has been supporting Qatar’s national sports teams whenever they participate in regional or international events by providing them with world-class all-inclusive medical services.”
From medical screening to illness and injury prevention, performance improvement, rehabilitation and research, Aspetar’s ongoing collaboration with the Qatar Football Association has been a perfect example of how national sports organisations can collaborate together to ‘assist athletes to achieve their maximum performance and full potential’, a mission statement that Aspetar set itself at its inception.
Aspetar’s medical team also played a big role in Al Annabi’s remarkable triumph at the Asian Cup.
Commenting on Aspetar’s role in support of the national team’s breakthrough, Qatar’s Head Coach Felix Sanchez, said: “We are here in Aspetar celebrating our achievement at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. It is a big achievement for us. Of course, the main contributors to this success are the players, but the contribution of Aspire was also a key factor. We have a great medical staff from Aspetar who prepared our players to overcome steep odds. The most important element was that our players are always ready to play. I am very happy to share the trophy here today with all the people that worked with the team. We are now looking forward for the next challenge in June at the Copa America. We know it is going to be a big challenge, but we will keep working hard to make the people of Qatar proud of their team.”
Meanwhile, Abdelkarim, said: “As you noticed during the competition, player injury rates were very low compared to overall average rates of other teams. Aspetar team focused heavily on maintaining our fitness levels, and the credit of this goes to everyone who contributed to this by working together as one team.”
The medical team, headed by Dr Ian McGuinness, comprised five physiotherapists and two massage therapists, including a physiotherapist stationed in Qatar to provide support to injured players.
Dr. McGuinness said: “We were happy, and we celebrated the success of the team and the country, but our focus was and remains making sure that the injured players are ok.”
“Preparation is a constant process, and we started the training camp on the 7th of December for this tournament. By the time Qatar reached the final, we had spent 56 days working continuously. The players had one or two days to rest, but the medical staff worked every day because there were always challenges to overcome with injured players,” he added.
The first national team physician went on to state that Qatar had 23 players in the squad and only had one injured player during the tournament.
Dr. McGuinness added: “Our role will remain to serve the players and ultimately assist the coach. 22 out of 23 players were available for all the games. We had four physiotherapists with us and two massage therapists, who each had a slightly different role within the team while working together to achieve one goal: making sure the players are able to maximise their performance. That’s the job.”
Aspetar provides an exceptional environment for medical professionals to improve their knowledge and their expertise and all of Aspetar’s staff are self-driven to learn constantly.
“It’s a fantastic institution where we can constantly learn and improve ourselves. The staff need little encouragement to seek improvement because we know that between now and 2022, things are going to go very fast, and there is a big spotlight on the national team, on Aspire and on Aspetar. On a daily basis, we must continue to challenge ourselves to improve.” McGuinness concluded.
By supporting other national football teams, Aspetar is further cementing its leading role as one of the FIFA Medical Centres of Excellence around the world by providing world-class treatment and injury prevention for athletes.