Applied Sports Psychology and Injury Research and Education Lab

Concentrating on the relationship between 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 27 years of experience leading hundreds of students through experiential learning projects.

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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 Hamstra-Wright and Coumbe-Lilley 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. Submit your application to join ASPIRE Lab.

  1. Complete the ASPIRE Lab’s application form no later than Friday, April 8, 2022
  2. Prepare for an interview

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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

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Karrie Hamstra-Wright headshot

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

Contact Karrie Hamstra-Wright to learn more or get involved.

Contact Karrie at: