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Knee Injury Led to Research Career

As a teenage Andreas Ivarsson dreamed about being a professional soccer player. A serious knee injury ended his sports career, and he chose instead to pursue his interest in sports academically. Today he regularly meets elite players when he does his research on the links between stress and injury.

"When I got the injury, it was really hard not to be able to do what I enjoyed most. The injury got me to thinking about whether there´s anything I can do to help other players in the rehabilitation process, or preferably even earlier," says Andreas Ivarsson.

“Halmstad a good student town"

It was his interest in sports and Halmstad's geographic location that prompted him to embark upon studies in sports science at Halmstad University in 2004.

"It was just the right distance from home in Sätila and a good situation as a summer town on the west coast. Halmstand is a good student town. There are a rather large number of students in a pleasant town of just the right size, where it's easy to get around," says Andreas Ivarsson.

Henke as a student

After taking his master's degree in sports psychology, he had a chance to work as a teacher at the University and began to pursue research at the same time. Now he has been in Halmstad for nearly eight years. He is 27 years old and, as director of the course in soccer coaching, has taught students like Henke Larsson (coach for Landskrona BoIS), Conny Karlsson (coach for HIF) and Mikael Svensson (assistant coach for HBK).

Impact of stress

Andreas Ivarsson's doctoral dissertation addresses how stress affects the risk of injury among elite soccer players. Thus far four elite teams in the All Sweden League have been studied with the aim of identifying associations between stress and injuries.

"Stress increases the risk of incurring injuries. Injuries obviously affect players negatively, but their teams' capacity to perform optimally can also be impaired. Stress can be caused by relationships with coaches, among team members, or situations in their private lives. In the weeks preceding an injury we can see elevated levels of stress," says Andreas Ivarsson.

Enjoys contact with world of sports

The next step is to work with stress management to see if this can reduce the number of injuries in comparison with a control group. The idea is for the dissertation to show how you as a player or coach can work to provide support to reduce the risk of injuries. Andreas Ivarsson enjoys the freedom of pursuing research and the contact he has with the world of soccer — clubs, associations, and players.

"It's fun to be in close contact with sports, and it's largely up to me to structure my work. I have good colleagues here, and we all share an interest in sports issues. The sports mentality with'‘the roar' and the sense of community surrounding matches create a good climate: it's competent and impulsive," says Andreas Ivarsson.


Andreas' tips for those wishing to conduct research

  • you have to be interested in your subject; make it clear what you're interested in.
  • it's important to really be familiar with the basics of the subject area, such as sports psychology, research methodology, or ethical rules.
  • make clear plans.
  • be sociable and network — you benefit a lot from contacts.


Andreas Ivarsson

Andreas Ivarsson is a teacher and doctoral candidate at Halmstad University. Here in the Sports Lab in Building I on Campus.

Updated 2012-01-11