Innovative teaching technique helps the AO revolutionize sports education

AO Sports

The AO—with its latest initiative, AO Sports—is responding to the significant global need for unbiased education in sports medicine. AO Sports’ high-quality, realistic, and highly rated courses have earned an average recommendation rate of 96 percent—thanks in large part to the dedicated faculty’s tireless work to bring novel teaching techniques to learners.

Delivering high quality, realistic, and highly rated education is the AO’s core focus, and AO Sports—launched at the AO Davos Courses 2021—has excelled beyond expectations. Since AO Sports’ debut, more than 1,400 learners have taken part in courses taught by 62 faculty members. Furthermore, 60 percent of the hands-on events have utilized a new, synthetic model for arthroscopy and open procedures.

The model accurately replicates the structure of the human body, including muscle, soft tissue, and fat pad layers. The model’s realistic haptic feedback allows learners to experience the tactile sensations they would encounter during procedures such as inserting anchors or drilling tunnels. This means that hands-on sessions and lectures can be alternated, there is no water on the floor from the arthroscope, and more time can be spent learning the techniques.

"You have all the benefits that you get with the cadavers—being able to use a scope, apply certain repair and reconstructive methods, but you do not have a lot of disadvantages,” one AO Sports course participant explained. “You do not have to worry about the water [or about] the water leaking out of the capsule, and it is more sustainable and doesn't take away from the experience of education.”

AO Sports’ success is due to its dedicated faculty, whose commitment and expertise have played a vital role in shaping the educational experience and ensuring its effectiveness. DePuy Synthes Sports Medicine—AO Sports’ partner in developing the synthetic models for arthroscopy—also contributed significantly to the initiative’s success. Canada’s Tactile Orthopaedics provided the new model along with crucial support at every course and partner Synbone continues to work closely with the AO Sports team future product developments and innovations. The collaboration between these organizations has resulted in the creation of cutting-edge tools for sports medicine education.

From strength to strength: 2023–2024

The outlook for AO Sports is robust, according to the AO Sports Task Forces, which have conducted and are planning courses in Switzerland, Germany, China, Thailand and United States. The principles course scheduled in October 2023 in Berlin sold out within 48 hours of opening and registration for the upcoming AO Sports Advanced Course—Knee Injuries and Deformities, scheduled for December 10–13 during the AO Davos Courses 2023, will soon open.

AO Sports currently is working to roll out principles, advanced, and then masters courses, with focus remaining primarily on the shoulder and the knee.

Guiding AO Sports are the Shoulder Task Force (Shiyi Chen, Amon Ferry, and Martin Jäger), the Knee Task Force (Yves Acklin, Jiwu Chen, and Mauricio Kfuri), and the Principles Task Force (Christoph Katthagen, Seth Sherman, Jim Stannard, and Saeed Al Thani).

Learn more about AO’s approach to sports medicine here.