ZonMw Pearl for Evert Verhagen

Approximately 187 million euros per year. These are the societal costs of ankle sprains in the Netherlands. For this reason alone effective prevention is of great importance. The Strengthen your Ankle project - within the programme Sport of the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) -  resulted in two accessible tools that support this important goal. For these results projectleader Evert Verhagen received a ZonMw Pearl on November 3, 2016 ... but this was a huge team effort!

What is a Pearl Project?

The ZonMw Pearl is a prize that is awarded several times a year to ZonMw projects that are an example and inspiration to the to the hundreds of projects that receive an annual subsidy from ZonMw. The ZonMw pearls are the projects that stand out. A ZonMw Pearl project aligns with current developments in health care, in which various parties collaborate, and of which the results stand out and are easy to implement in practice.

Strengthen your Ankle

With approximately 480 thousand cases annually, lateral ankle ligament injuries (an injury to the outer ankle ligaments), is one of the most common sports injuries. The risk of repeated injury is also high. An eight-week training program reduces this risk, but only when an athlete performs at least three quarters of the program. To promote adherence to the exercises the 'Strengthen your Ankle' program was developed in an informational flyer and an interactive App. Randomized research showed that both tools effectively increase compliance to the exercise program.

During the study itself and in the dissemination of research results, a consortium of relevant partners was closely involved. They represented science, the (para) medical practitioners dealing with ankle injuries (GP, physiotherapist, sports physiotherapist and sports physician), health insurers. The implementation strategy is now ready, which will start once the results of the long-term efficacy are available. Meanwhile, both the app and the flyer are already available for practice.