Associate Professor David Opar

Director & Injury Program Lead

Associate Professor David Opar

Areas of expertise: hamstring; sports injury; muscle; injury risk factors

HDR Supervisor accreditation status: Full

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-8354-6353

Phone: +613 9953 3742


Location:  ACU Melbourne Campus

Associate Professor David Opar completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement) at RMIT University in 2008. A/Prof Opar commenced his doctoral thesis (PhD) in the area of hamstring strain injuries at the Queensland University of Technology in 2010 under the supervision of A/Prof Anthony Shield. In 2013, A/Prof Opar joined ACU as a Lecturer in the Discipline of Exercise Science in the School of Behavioural and Health Sciences. Currently, A/Prof Opar is the Director of the Sports Performance, Recovery, Injury and New Technologies (SPRINT) Research Centre. In addition, A/Prof Opar is also the Injury Research Program Lead for SPRINT.

The Injury Research Program in SPRINT is a world leader in hamstring injury research, conducting projects that cover a number of disciplines in the field of exercise science. These projects encompass lab-based research all the way through to applied and field-based work. A/Prof Opar and his team are in close consultation with professional sporting codes both nationally and internationally to deliver evidence-based prevention and treatment strategies for their athlete group. From his research, A/Prof Opar also co-invented the NordBord, a field measure of eccentric hamstring strength that is now used by sporting teams across the world.

Select publications

Hamstring injury research

  • Opar DA, Williams MD, Shield AJ. Hamstring strain injuries: factors that lead to injury and re-injury. Sports Med. 2012;42(3):209-26. DOI: 10.2165/11594800-000000000-00000.
  • Opar DA, Piatkowski T, Williams MD, Shield AJ. A novel device using the Nordic hamstring exercise to assess eccentric knee flexor strength: a reliability and retrospective injury study. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2013;43(9):636-40. DOI: 10.2519/jospt.2013.4837.
  • Opar DA, Williams MD, Timmins RG, Hickey J, Duhig SJ, Shield AJ. Eccentric hamstring strength and hamstring injury risk in Australian footballers. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015;47(4):857-65. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000465.
  • Timmins RG, Bourne MN, Shield AJ, Williams MD, Lorenzen C, Opar DA. Short biceps femoris fascicles and eccentric knee flexor weakness increase the risk of hamstring injury in elite football (soccer): a prospective cohort study. Br J Sports Med. 2016;50(24):1524-35. DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2015-095362.
  • Ruddy JD, Shield AJ, Maniar N, Williams MD, Duhig S, Timmins RG, Opar DA. Predictive modelling of hamstring strain injuries in elite Australian Footballers. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2018;50(5):906-14. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001527.
  • Presland JD, Timmins RG, Bourne MN, Williams MD, Opar DA. The effect of Nordic hamstring exercise training volume on biceps femoris long head architectural adaptation. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2018;28(7):1775-83. DOI: 10.1111/sms.13085.
  • Bourne MN, Timmins RG, Opar DA, Pizzari T, Ruddy JD, Sims C, et al. An evidence-based framework for strengthening exercises to prevent hamstring injury. Sports Med. 2018;48(2):251-67. DOI: 10.1007/s40279-017-0796-x.
  • Opar DA, Timmins RG, Behan FP, Hickey JT, van Dyk N, Price K, Maniar N. Is pre-season eccentric strength testing during the Nordic hamstring exercise associated with future hamstring strain injury? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med. 2021. DOI: 10.1007/s40279-021-01474-1.


Select research funding

  • Hamstring Injury (HAMIR) Index: A framework for injury mitigation strategies through innovative imaging, biomechanics, and data analytics. 2021 – 2025. US$4 Million.
  • The influence of hamstring function on ACL loading in male and female athletes. Australian Institute of Sport High Performance Sport Research Fund. 2015. $16,000.
  • The adaptability of hamstring muscle architecture and implications for strain injury. Qatar National Research Fund. 2016-2020. US$696,193.
  • Statistical modelling of injury in elite sport. Faculty of Health Sciences Partnership Grant. 2017. $63,000.
  • Assessing hamstring function throughout rehabilitation from anterior cruciate ligament reconstructive surgery: association with age and gender. ACU Early Career Researcher Scheme. 2017-2018. $49,898.

Accolades and awards

Academic awards

  • RMIT Institute Award (2008)
  • Sports Medicine Australia Conference – Best New Investigator Award (2013)
  • Sports Medicine Australia Conference – Best Paper in Clinical Sports Medicine (2014)
  • Sports Medicine Australia ASICS Medal Winner (co-author) – Best Paper at Sports Medicine Australia Conference (2015)
  • Sports Medicine Australia ASICS Medal Winner (co-author) – Best Paper at Sports Medicine Australia Conference (2017)

Appointments and affiliations

Academic appointments

  • Associated Lecturer, Division of Exercise Science, RMIT University, 2009
  • Lecturer, School of Behavioural and Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University, 2013-2017
  • Associate Professor, School of Behavioural and Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University, 2018-current
  • Director, Sports Performance, Recovery, Injury and New Technologies (SPRINT) Research Centre, Australian Catholic University, 2020-current

Professional memberships

  • Sports Medicine Australia

Editorial roles

Book editor

  • Prevention and Rehabilitation of Hamstring Injuries. Thorborg K, Opar DA, Shield AJ. Springer International Publishing, 2020. ISBN 978-3-030-31638-9

Journal editorial roles

  • Guest Editor, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2016 & 2017

International journal review panel

Select journal reviewer

  • British Journal of Sports Medicine
  • Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport
  • Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport

Public engagement

Presentations & podcasts

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