From Tim Noakes’ early publication titled “The management of head and neck injuries in rugby players” following the death of Chris Burger in 1982, researchers at HPALS have been at the forefront of sports and exercise related injury research.

The UCT Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Surgery Clinical Research Practice is the largest provider of Sports & Exercise Medicine related clinical services on the African Continent and provides services to numerous international teams and federations which include; UAE Team Emirates (winner of the 2020 and 2021 Tour de France), Stormers Super Rugby, Springbok Sevens Rugby, Cape Town Spurs Football Club, Cape Town City Football Club, The Two Oceans Marathon and many others. The practice is an International Sports Medicine Federation Center of Collaboration (FIMS-CCSM) and hosts 10 leading sports physicians and 6 leading orthopaedic surgeons (the majority of whom are UCT academics).

Provision of Sports & Exercise medicine clinical services to the broader public have been implemented through the first public sector sports injuries clinic in conjunction with the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery which is run through Groote Schuur Hospital out-patient department since 2016.

These clinical platforms and World leading clinical expertise provide a continuous platform for clinical and basic science research activities.  Moreover, UCT HPALS researchers are recognised as international leaders in the genetics of musculoskeletal soft-tissue, exercise-related injuries, as well as video analysis of rugby-related injuries. The latter work has resulted in changes in both national and international practice and rules changes.