Prof. Nebojsa Popovic has been pioneering the provision of surgical services as a Senior Orthopaedic Surgeon at Aspetar since the opening of the facility in 2007. Due to his extensive experience in the field of sports surgery, he has been the major driving force behind continuously building and developing Aspetar’s Department of Surgery as an integral part of multidisciplinary sports medicine care from these early days on. He was awarded the title of Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery by Weill Cornell Medical College. In recognition of his achievements and professional integrity, which earned him the unconditional support and respect of all clinical staff, he was appointed as Aspetar Acting Chief Medical Officer in May 2014.
Prof. Popovic possesses four decades of experience as an orthopaedic surgeon and physician, with 25 years of these in leadership positions at prestigious institutions. After his specialisation as an orthopaedic surgeon, Prof. Popovic obtained his PhD in Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Belgrade, Serbia, in 1984, and was promoted to Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and consequently the Head of the Orthopaedic Department at the University Hospital of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Hercegovina. In 1992, he moved to Belgium to become the Clinical Chief of the Orthopaedic Department and Chief of Programme for Sports Medicine at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) in Liege. In 2002, he obtained a further PhD degree in Orthopaedic Surgery, this time from the University of Liege, Belgium.
Throughout his career, Prof. Popovic endeavoured to complement his surgical activities with clinically relevant scientific work, resulting in almost 60 publications in medical journals and two books on sports traumatology in the 1980’s, at a time when sports medicine was still in its infancy in Europe. His book on sports injuries in handball was the first publication of this kind for the sport and for some time remained the only reference for team physicians and clinicians working in handball.
At Aspetar, Prof. Popovic assumed a decisive role both in the education of staff and of the wider sports community. He fathered the Tuesday Scientific lectures open to all Aspetar staff which became a pillar of continuous medical education at Aspetar and increased constantly in their standards and impact under his direction. Realising the need for comprehensible information on sports medicine to raise the level of awareness for medical issues among the wider sports community, he developed the concept of the Aspetar Sports Medicine Journal which combines health and medical hot topics with success stories of elite athletes and interviews of influential personalities. The first issue was published in 2012 under his chief-editorship, and the audience has since grown incessantly, shaping the reputation of Aspetar worldwide.
Prof. Popovic’s broad background in athlete care and sports medicine has been shaped by and combined with a distinguished career as an elite athlete. As a handball player, he was instrumental in the victory of Yugoslavia’s national senior men’s team to become Olympic Champions in 1972 in Munich. He was a regular member of the national team at the time, participating also in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. He has been awarded numerous titles and honours in sports, including his selection for the World All Stars Handball Team two times.
Due to his sound clinical knowledge and understanding, his determined and indefatigable promotion of clinically relevant research and education together with achievements as an elite athlete and team player, Prof. Popovic has been instrumental in shaping and building the profile of quality sports medicine and surgery in Qatar.