Athletics Research Center (ARC)

Track and field athletes running at a competition

Athletics (track and field) is globally one of the most popular individual sports and the largest sport at the Olympic Games. The Athletics Research Centre (ARC) at Linköping University is a hub for international multi-disciplinary Athletics research. Recently completed indoors and outdoors Athletics stadiums at the main university campus are part of the effort.

The ARC aims to promote performance and health among Athletics athletes by translating scientific evidence created at different levels into interventions ranging from policies and educational programs to clinical procedures and novel technologies. Conventional research approaches in sports epidemiology, clinical sports medicine, behavioural and learning science, and information technology are here integrated at the ARC to generate new knowledge about the causation, treatment, and prevention of conditions related to maximal repeated loading of tissues.

ARC research is planned in cooperation with the international Athletics and Parasports communities. The research program includes longitudinal health surveillance of young and elite Athletics and Parasports athletes, examinations of athlete behaviours and abuse experiences, studies of overuse conditions and their psychological correlates, and novel anti-doping methods. 

The ARC hub is located at Linköping University Hospital (LUH). ARC clinicians are affiliated with several national athletics teams and numerous sports clubs. The affiliations of the clinical ARC members span from general sports medicine and orthopaedics, physiotherapy, clinical physiology, and endocrinology to medical imaging and psychiatry. 

ARC teachers contribute to Master’s level courses in Sports Medicine, open for European and international students. A ‘young researcher club’ is maintained for health service students as well as PhD student seminar series and a research affiliation program in sports medicine for clinical practitioners. Linköping University also hosts a program (LiU Elitidrott) provides qualified coaching for elite Athletics athletes pursing academic studies in parallel with their sports career.

In liaison with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), ARC organized in 2014 a consensus conference for definition of health-related incidents (injuries and illnesses) to be recorded in epidemiological studies in Athletics, as well as standards for data collection and analysis procedures (Timpka T, Alonso JM, Jacobsson J, Junge A, Branco P, Clarsen B, Kowalski J, Mountjoy M, Nilsson S, Pluim B, Renström P, Rønsen O, Steffen K, Edouard P. Injury and illness definitions and data collection procedures for use in epidemiological studies in Athletics (track and field): consensus statement. Br J Sports Med. 2014 Apr;48(7):483-90). Since 2014, the ARC has cooperated with the IAAF in research projects at IAAF World Championships from youth to adult levels.


A selection

Cover of publication ''
Jenny Jacobsson, D. Bergin, Toomas Timpka, J. M. Nyce, Örjan Dahlström (2018)

Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports , Vol.28 , s.348-355 Continue to DOI

Cover of publication ''
Toomas Timpka, Jenny Jacobsson, Victor Bargoria, Julien D. Periard, Sebastien Racinais, Ola Ronsen, Karin Halje, Christer A. Andersson, Örjan Dahlström, Armin Spreco, Pascal Edouard, Juan-Manuel Alonso (2017)

British Journal of Sports Medicine , Vol.51 , s.272-+ Continue to DOI

Cover of publication ''
Toomas Timpka, Jenny Jacobsson, Örjan Dahlström, Jan Kowalski, Victor Bargoria, Joakim Ekberg, Sverker Nilsson, Per Renström (2015)

British Journal of Sports Medicine , Vol.49 , s.1472-1477 Continue to DOI

Research Group