Psychology and Sports Medicine

Research & Projects

Latest Projects



Project Lead:
DDr. Elisabeth Abermann (Gelenkpunkt) & A.o. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Fink (Research Unit for Orthopaedic Sports Medicine and Injury Prevention)

Project Duration:
January 2024 - December 2025

Funding Agencies:
Tyrolean Innovation Support - Collaborative Projects

Collaboration Partners:
Gelenkpunkt; Privatklinik Hochrum; CC Innovation GmbH; Management Center Innsbruck (MCI)

Project Description:
A tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a very common knee joint injury. Such an injury significantly impairs the correct motion of the knee. In most cases, an ACL reconstruction is performed to restore stability. However, 25% of the patients experience a re-injury. An additional surgical procedure called lateral tenodesis can reduce the risk of re-injury by distributing the load between the graft and the repositioned tendon. On the other hand, this procedure involves additional surgery time, implant costs, and morbidity (additional incision, increased pain).

Project Objectives: This project aims to enhance and automate decision-making processes in ACL surgeries through modern AI-based algorithms. The system primarily focuses on optimizing the decision of whether tenodesis is necessary or not.

Methodology: Specifically, an improved version of the tenodesis score will be determined from input patient data. This will involve training a program based on Artificial Neural Networks, which, when provided with data from new patients, evaluates and weighs risk factors, ultimately leading to a more informed assessment.


Project Lead:
Dr. Katja Osterwald (Research Unit for Orthopaedic Sports Medicine and Injury Prevention)

Project Duration:
January 2023 - December 2025

Collaboration Partners:
MOTUM, Gelenkpunkt

Project Description:
Extended Reality (XR), which includes Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality, has expanded beyond the realm of entertainment and gaming, finding applications in healthcare and rehabilitation. XR has the ability to significantly enhance the motivation, participation, and self-perceived efficacy of patients during their therapy. This technology directs the patients' focus towards the outcome rather than the movements themselves, making therapeutic exercises more functional and effective. Although the potential of XR in neurological rehabilitation is well-documented, further investigations are needed to clarify its role in ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) rehabilitation and among healthy individuals.

Project Objectives: Our aim is to explore the potential of XR in revolutionizing functional recovery, readiness for a return to sports (Return-to-Sport), and biomechanical outcomes, particularly within the context of ACL rehabilitation.

Methodology: Within this framework, we are developing XR scenarios that simulate real sports conditions, including both planned and spontaneous movements. Additionally, we will examine how XR can be utilized to assess the biomechanics of athletes, their reaction times, and factors influencing the risk of injury during dynamic sporting activities. Throughout this process, we will compare the results of performance tests based on XR with traditional methods to validate the accuracy and reliability of XR evaluations.


Project Lead:
Dipl.-Ing. Christian Marx, PhD Candidate (Research Unit for Orthopaedic Sports Medicine and Injury Prevention). Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Daniel Baumgarten (Director of the Institute of Mechatronics) & A.o. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Fink (Research Unit for Orthopaedic Sports Medicine and Injury Prevention)

Project Duration:
Since March 2023

Collaboration Partners:
Gelenkpunkt & Privatklinik Hochrum

Project Description:
Intraoperative strain measurement suitable for clinical routine would represent an essential advancement for the mentioned medical procedures. Achieving a uniform tension state in paired anatomical structures, such as the knee's ligaments, is fundamental for the healing process and postoperative joint stability. Currently, there are no suitable measuring instruments or methods available for clinical routine. The methods used in scientific studies are time-consuming, influenced by the measurement setup, and cause irreversible damage to the tissue under investigation.

Project Objectives: The aim of this dissertation project is to develop a measurement method for intraoperative strain measurement in ligaments that is non-destructive to the collagenous tissue. Furthermore, it is required that the measurement method can capture dynamic loading of the anatomical structure. For the intended clinical application, at least two geometric states must be captured with suitable measurement accuracy in a very short time frame. Based on the measurements, the ligament's strain state can be calculated. Special attention is given to the high demands regarding measurement accuracy due to the combination of the limited access area to the measurement surface in an intraoperative measurement, the expected low strain rates, and the undulation of ligament surfaces. The measurement setup should have the least possible influence on the measurement results, and it should not hinder the twisting of the tissue under investigation.


1) Development/formulation of one or more suitable measurement principles.

2) Technical implementation of the favoured measurement principles.

3) Validation of the measurement method(s) in situ.

4) Validation of the fundamental suitability of the method for intraoperative application through a representative experimental setup.


Project Lead:
Dr. Philipp Baumert (Research Unit for Orthopaedic Sports Medicine and Injury Prevention) & Dr Robert Erskine (Liverpool John Moores University)

Project Duration:
January 2021 - December 2025

Collaboration Partners:
Liverpool John Moores University, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, the Universidad del País Vasco, Liverpool FC Women, Liverpool Feds Women's Football Club and the Technical University of Munich. Further associated partners are varying female football clubs

Project Description:
The popularity of women’s soccer in Europe has increased markedly in recent years, which has helped increase participation at grassroots level. However, soccer is associated with various injuries that can lead to non-participation in sport and increased risk of sedentary lifestyle-associated diseases. Limited information exists on injury risk in female soccer players, particularly young players. The identification of novel female-specific injury risk factors would increase our understanding of why injury risk appears to be higher in female compared to male athletes. This knowledge would enable players/practitioners to individualise exercise-training to optimize performance, while simultaneously reducing injury risk.       

Project Objectives: The aims of this ‘Female soccer players regarding Genetics, Menstrual Cycle and Injury risk (FEGEMI)’ project are to investigate novel injury risk factors in female soccer players, and to educate athletes and coaches (at elite and grassroots level) in effective management of those risks.

Methods: In five work packages (WPs), the project will investigate the impact of the menstrual cycle (WP1), genetic variation (WP2), maturation (WP3), and strength training (WP4) on injury risk in female soccer players. The results will inform workshops designed to educate coaches, athletes and other stakeholders of women’s grassroots and elite soccer clubs on female-specific injury risk factors and how they can be effectively managed (WP5). 


Previous projects:

  • The intramuscular connective tissue and its significance for the loss of muscle function in older age

  • The Runner's Knee: In search of causes and therapy

  • The Anterior Cruciate Ligament: Development of a method to assess its mechanical properties in humans

  • Meniscus tear: How efficient can they be treated by meniscus suture?

  • TALE - What about us? 
    Supporting anti-doping via Transforming Athletes’ Life Experiences after Doping into Education Resources and Policy Recommendations

  • Sports Integrity - Development and implementation of a Sports Integrity Seminar with the International Ski Federation (FIS)

  • Evaluation of current anti-doping measures of the two winter sports federations IBU and FIS

  • Doping in disabled sport: perceptions, knowledge, willingness and reasons

  • I-VALUE: Sports values in every classroom 

  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of the "Anti-Doping School Programme for Junior Sports Models and Competitive Sports Schools" as a preventive measure in junior sports

  • Do Anti-Doping interventions work? A comparative intervention mapping of Anti-Doping programmes in Austria, Russia, South Africa and the UK

  • Life after Doping: Impacts of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation on the biopsychosocial health of athletes

  • Doping Prevention Monitoring Program (DPMP): Development, implementation and evaluation of an instrument for monitoring doping prevention programmes and their influence on factors of doping behaviour at micro and macro level

  • Doping sanctions in sport: knowledge and perception of appropriateness by athletes and their coaches

  • World Mountain & Trail Running Championships 2023: Influence of long distance runs in extreme environments on thermoregulation, cardiac response and blood hemostasis profiles

  • Performance and metabolic changes in climbing after ischaemic preconditioning

  • Thermoregulatory changes during intense athletic exertion in cold environmental conditions

  • Influence of hyperoxic preconditioning on performance in acute hypoxia

  • "Digital Detox": The digital break as a health tourism product

  • COVENT: Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on aspects of the organisation of sporting events in Tyrol

  • Leisure Sickness: The phenomenon of getting sick during leisure time and holidays