Applied Sports Psychology and Injury Research and Education Lab

Focusing on the intersection of traumatic sport injury and psychology

The mission of the Applied Sports Psychology and Injury Research and Education Lab (ASPIRE) is to create valuable learning experiences, produce interdisciplinary research and deliver education to improve client outcomes. ASPIRE offers students enrolled in our bachelor’s and master’s in kinesiology programs who aim to enter any health, wellness and/or fitness-related field with hands-on learning research, education and resource development opportunities. It was founded by John Coumbe-Lilley and Karrie Hamstra-Wright, both are award winning educators with over two decades of experience leading hundreds of students through experiential learning projects.

Goals and objectives

Provide students opportunities to engage in professional opportunities, collaborative research and education delivery


Education objectives:

  1. Establish an opportunity pathway for students to participate in the ASPIRE Lab
  2. Develop an individual growth plan for all students in the ASPIRE Lab
  3. Engage students in meaningful learning
  4. Teach students scientific processes by engaging them in each step from project development through authorship
  5. Promote professional development opportunities through student involvement in local, regional, and national professional meetings

Improve the health and recovery of individuals through clinically-driven research


Research objectives:

  1. Promote scientific inquiry around clinical questions focused on traumatic injuries using integrated psychological and kinematic and physiological assessment processes
  2. Collaborate with coaches, clinicians, and clients to generate scientifically sound research questions that answer relevant questions
  3. Disseminate resources and findings in a timely fashion through the Lab website, peer-reviewed publications, and scientific presentations by creating a team of collaborators
  4. Conduct faculty-initiated research in an interdisciplinary environment utilizing the expertise of various disciplines

Offer educational opportunities for individuals and communities.


Service objectives:

  1. Create and deliver a variety of educational resources serving the UIC community and beyond
  2. Raise revenue through community education delivery to support student research, scholarship, and professional development

Student involvement

BS in Kinesiology students:  Minimum two-semester commitment.  Hours count toward experiential learning credit. Sophomores and above are encouraged to apply.

MS in Kinesiology students: Performance, sport and exercise psychology track students may apply.  Minimum of two-semester commitment.  Education delivery hours may apply to supervision hours for AASP Certified Mental Performance Coach credential.  Graduate students contact Dr. John Coumbe-Lilley at


Most students who’ve completed research and project work with Coumbe-Lilley and Hamstra-Wright have gone on to complete professional degrees in physical therapy, psychology, nursing, medicine, occupational psychology, counseling, social work among others.

  • Unique opportunity for professional skills and career development
  • Differentiate yourself from other students who apply for graduate and professional school
  • Develop relationships with peers and faculty
  • Receive supervision and mentoring
  • Operate in a high expectation environment
  • Participate in meaningful work
  • Develop research skills
  • Earn six credit hours


Become a lab member

A maximum of 16 placements are available per academic year. To apply to join the ASPIRE Lab:

  1. Complete the ASPIRE Lab’s application form no later than Friday, April 7, 2023
  2. Look for an email on the status of your application approximately 1-2 weeks after the application deadline
  3. Prepare an interview as if you are preparing for your dream job (interviews will be scheduled for the first week of May)

Content Section

woman crouches on a track holding her knee

Sports Injury Recovery Group

ASPIRE Lab provides direct services through its Sports Injury Recovery Group (SIRG), a specialized support group for athletes recovering from a severe sports injury. Upon succesful completion of our training program, supervised graduate students co-facilitate level-one groups of the SIRG program sequence.

Athletes are coached to gain insight, develop skills and an understanding of severe sports injury and emotional recovery, cope with severe injury, solve situational and emotional problems, develop a mental game plan, improve their confidence, lower anxiety and develop resilience.

Learn more

Content Section


Ready to take the next step? We're here for you

Our ASPIRE Lab Team meetings are open to the public. Come see and learn what we’re about! We meet in-person or via Zoom the 2nd and 3rd Fridays of the month from 12.30-2p. Contact us if you’d like to join a meeting or with any other questions.

Contact us at: