Who Stays Fit?

FUNDING

·      SIA RAAK

·      NWO Comenius

PARTNERS

·      Codarts Rotterdam

·      Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

BACKGROUND

Sport injuries are one of the main causes of poor physical performance and physical discomfort in sport active populations. Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) students are sport active population who are, as part of their education and besides their own sport participation, confronted with curricular sport participation of approximately eleven hours a week in six different sports. Due to this high amount and variety of additional sport participations PETE students have a relative high sport incidence. Therefore this population is very suitable for research on the etiology of sport injuries and provides need for the development and implementation of preventive interventions. The main goal of the ‘Who stays fit’ project is to increase insight in the incidence and etiology of sport injuries of PETE students. Within this project we research the incidence of sport injuries, risk factors of medial tibial stress syndrome, risk factors of ankle injuries, psychological risk factors of injuries, injury mechanisms, and the prevention of sport injuries.


Long term effects of marathon running to cardiac health

FUNDING

Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education

BACKGROUND

In the last two decades, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of athletes training for and participating in organized and recreational long-long-distance running, such as marathons. However, while the beneficial cardiovascular effects long-distance running are well documented, little is known about potential negative cardiac effects of long-term repetitive marathon running. Observational data have shown elevated cardiac markers among marathoner runners, leading to the hypothesis that myocardial injury due to prolonged hypoxemia might take place, potentially leading to myocardial fibrosis (MF), but with a highly variable incidence. There is an urgent need for awareness among runners of potential detrimental cardiac effects of long-distance running.

OBJECTIVES

To assess the proportion of subjects who has myocardial fibrosis using late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) on cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRC) among long term (> 5 years) marathon runners, compared to sedentary age matched controls.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

Does repetitive long term marathon running cause myocardial fibrosis?

STUDY DESIGN

Case control study in a defined specific endurance running population compared to a matched controls. Consecutive sampling is used for the exposed subjects who meet the inclusion criteria. Dose of training (kilometers), participation hours, and cardiac findings (LGE on MRI) will be taken for analysis.


Injury incidence and patterns in U10-U15 soccer players

FUNDING

PhD fellowship fundamental research of Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), Belgium

PROJECT PARTNERS

  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium)

  • Ghent Univeristy (Belgium)

BACKGROUND

The development of youth soccer players in the academies of professional clubs involves specialized training from a very young age onwards. These development programs characterized by their high training loads and high training frequency, are developed to prepare talented young players for the increasing demands of contemporary professional match play. Football is a complex contact sport, characterized by intermittent, explosive actions, and is associated with a high risk of acute and overuse injuries in elite level youth players. Injury incidence and risk factors are well known in older adolescent and adult players, but these are thought to be different in (pre)pubertal players due to a different susceptibility of the immature muscular-skeletal system. Moreover, during puberty, players appear to be even more susceptible for injuries due to the changing body proportions and physical characteristics, as well as the temporary motor awkwardness associated with the adolescent growth spurt. 

To date, epidemiological research in (pre)pubertal elite level football players from 9 to 15 years of age is limited and often faces methodological shortcomings leading to inconclusive evidence. Also, the determinant role of growth, maturation, physical fitness and motor coordination in the risk for sustaining injuries is not fully understood. Therefore, the overall aim of this three-year large scale prospective cohort study in Belgian U10 to U15 elite level football players, is to provide a detailed overview of the injury incidence and patterns. Furthermore, the risk for sustaining injuries in relation to growth, maturation, physical fitness, and motor coordination will be investigated in detail using different, state-of-the art methods of analysis. 


CHOiCE: Choosing the Healthy Option in a Choice Environment

FUNDING

Internal funding from the Department of Public and Occupational Health, VU University Medical Center

BACKGROUND

Technological and economic advances in the past decades have nowadays resulted in people living a lifestyle that is characterized by high rates of sitting and low levels of physical activity,  which increases people’s risk for non-communicable diseases. A promising approach to change health behaviors is the use of ‘choice architecture’. The term refers to practice of influencing behaviors by organizing the context in which people make choices. 

The aim of the CHOiCE project is to investigate which choice architecture interventions effectively (1) foster active health choices (that engender commitment towards specific health goals); and (2) support maintenance of health behaviors (by promoting habit formation), with choices and behaviors being in line with individuals’ beliefs, needs, values and preferences. The project focusses on two different populations: (a) sedentary, physically inactive healthy individuals and (b) individuals at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. 

The project consists of three main stages, with each new stage building on the insights derived in the previous stage(s):

  1. A systematic literature review on choice architecture interventions that promote physical activity and discourage sedentary behavior;

  2. Qualitative studies on people’s beliefs, needs, values and preferences in the context of choices about health behavior;

  3. Quantitative, experimental proof-of-principle studies on the effects of different types of choice architecture.

 The ultimate aim of the project is to empower people to make healthy choices and to engage in health behaviors in the long term.  


Finding the right balance: determining safe and healthy physical activity load

FUNDING

  • Amsterdam Movement Sciences

BACKGROUND

Physical activity leads to many health benefits but also entails a risk of injury. Injuries often lead to reduced physical activity levels and can even cause dropout from exercise. A large amount of injuries (30-40%) require medical attention, producing substantial health care costs.

Injuries occur when the stress applied to a tissue (load) is greater than the stress the tissue can withstand (load capacity). Fatigue reduces the load capacity of tissue and thus increases the risk of injury. Therefore, appropriate recovery is required between activity sessions. 

Finding the right balance between activity load and recovery is a common goal for sports participants to minimise injury risk and optimise health and performance outcomes. However, there is currently little high-quality evidence on the association between activity load, recovery, and injury risk. Further, the analytical methods used in previous studies are known to produce biased estimates. 

The proposed project aims to establish injury risk profile charts visualizing the individual risk of sport participants based on a multifactorial profile. The outcomes will support sports and clinical practice in managing activity load and recovery to prevent injury. 

Our results will lead to activity-, sex-, age- and population-specific recommendations on how to be as active as possible (for recreational sports) or train as much as possible (for high-level athletes) without getting injured. Together with our clinical partners, we will translate the findings into risk profiles to enable clinical recommendations.


Injuries and their aetiology in Physical Education students

BACKGROUND

Worldwide many students participate in physical activity and sports related studies. During the course of these studies a high level of physical activity and exercise skills is demanded. In physical education teacher education (PE) studies, during the first three years on average more than 250 hours per year are spent on practical sports classes. In addition, most PE students participate in extracurricular sports as well. Therefore, these students are at high risk of sustaining a sports injury during the course of their studies. Recent studies covered injuries during the freshman year only. 

This research project covers the first two steps of the “sequence of prevention” in PE studies.

The first aim is to describe the prevalence of injuries during the first three years of PE studies and to compare injury risks between curriculum periods (years and semesters) and between sexes in PE students. Injuries in PE students over the period 2000-2014 are investigated for this purpose. 

The second aim of this project is to identify possible risk factors for injuries in PE students. In a three-year prospective cohort study, intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors for injuries in freshman PE students are investigated. In a qualitative study, the perspectives from PE students on risk factors for injuries during the first three years of their study are investigated from a socio-ecological perspective.


Complex system analysis of injury in elite football players

PROJECT PARTNERS

·      Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

·      Arsenal Football Club

BACKGROUND

In football, the incidence of muscle injuries remains high, despite several studies on their aetiology and prevention (Ekstrand et al., 2011). Traditionally, the investigation of risk factors for sports injuries has concentrated on linear and unidirectional causality (Arnason et al., 2004, Gabbe et al., 2006 and Engebretsen et al., 2010). However, injury (and muscle injury included) arises from the complex interaction among a web of determinants. This approach can be useful in an attempt to understand the sports injury aetiology and it may allow mapping of the interactions among potential risk factors and allow the development an athlete's ‘risk profile’ (Bittencourt et al., 2016). 

Data analysis will be performed using alternative approaches; (1) Classification and Regression Trees (CART), which captures nonlinear relationships between predictors and produces results easily applied in clinical practice; and (2) Direct acyclic graphs (DAG) that allows systematic representations of causal relationships and validates the CART outcomes.

The aim of this research project is to identify a web of determinants to better understand how and why muscle injuries may occur in elite football players


“Who me?! I thought you’d never ask” –Listening and analyzing injury prevention behaviors in elite sports context 

FUNDING

Caroline Bolling is a PhD candidate supported by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico – CNPq , Brazil- grant number 202242/2015-3

BACKGROUND

Sports injury prevention researchers have developed many strategies to prevent injuries in the past years. Despite the evolution in research, how to apply the models/ programs from research into practice remains a challenge. The interventions are usually developed from the researcher’s perspective and despite having the injury prevention as the main goal, they don’t take into consideration the elite sports context and its particularities. A better understanding of this context is needed to developed customized interventions and improve the use of injury prevention strategies in practice. Qualitative methods can provide a contextual perspective on the injury problem by exploring different perpectives and enabling a more comprehensive understanding of the injury prevention process in practice. 

 

 RESEARCH QUESTIONS/OBJECTIVES

This project aims to recognize and understand the reality of the elite sports context through a qualitative study. We aim to explore and understand the beliefs, attitudes and knowledge about injury prevention from the athletes’ and other stakeholders’ (i.e. coaches and medical staff) perspective. 


Reduced Achilles Pain study

TITLE

"Effectiveness of a 12-week self-myofascial release therapy on pain and tendon stiffness in active recreational runners with self-reported Achilles tendon complaints"

BACKGROUND

Pain and stiffness of the Achilles tendon are a common running-related injury (RRI). One of the standard exercises in treating the complaints are eccentric exercises (ECC). It requires muscle activation thus focusing on the calf muscles. Anatomically, the Achilles tendon not only fuses with the calf muscles but has a fibrous connection with the plantar foot, the aponeurosis plantaris. Targeting not only the calf muscles but also the aponeurosis, sely-myofascial release (SMR) represents a good option for multifocal treatment. SMR has become more popular the last years. It is thought to it stimulate collagen I production and reverse pathological neovascularization. Moreover, although evidence is scarce so far, SMR has been described to loosen fascial adhesions and cross-links, increase the gliding capacities of connective tissue layers, decrease muscle tension and to alter mechanical stiffness. SMR does not impede athletic performance. It has also been suggested that SMR might have, as all manual therapies, a potentially pain-relieving effect. These analgesic effects may be mediated by either peripheral, spinal or supra-spinal mechanisms. All of the above mentioned processes might help to restore physiological tendon function.

OBJECTIVES

The purpose of this study will be to evaluate the effectiveness of a multifocal SMR treatment (directed to plantar aponeurosis, Achilles tendon and calf muscles) on pain and stiffness compared to ECC in active recreational runners with self-reported Achilles tendon complaints. 

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

Is a 12-week multifocal SMR treatment more effective in treating Achilles tendon complaints than ECC in active recreational runners?

STUDY DESIGN

Single blinded, randomized pilot study using a 2 group design with a treatment period of 12 weeks.

"Disagevantage": The influence of chronological and biological age on sport participation in children - a public health issue?

FUNDING

  • “Early Postdoc Mobility fellowship” from the  Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

PROJECT PARTNERS

  • PD Dr. Oliver Faude, University of Basel, Switzerland

BACKGROUND

Physical activity provides many positive effects on health risk factors, skeletal and psychological health, as well as on mental, cardiorespiratory and neuromuscular fitness. Physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of chronic diseases, contributing to disability and death worldwide. Active participation in organised youth sport is positively associated with higher levels of adult physical activity. Hence, youth sport also has important implications for long-term individual health as well as public health. Children like to compete against each other. Therefore, having fun during sport participation is often linked to having success. Unfortunately, not all children have the same chance to be successful in sport. As children are growing rapidly, small differences in age can cause large differences in biological development. In the sport setting children are grouped according to their birth date using cut-off-dates. In consequence, some children in a sport team might be one year younger than others and therefore they might be smaller, weaker, and less successful. In addition, some children are early- and some are late-maturing which also can lead to performance differences in the sport setting. Hence, both aspects could lead to large differences in motor performance. Therefore, a considerable amount of children might be disadvantaged just by being born at the “wrong time of the year” and/or being late-maturing. This can lead to disappointments, loss of motivation, and drop-out from sport. Data from high-level competitive sport show that the aforementioned effects lead to a clear underrepresentation of such disadvantaged children. However, data from recreational and low-level competition sport are completely missing. This is surprising as most children are participating in low-level and recreational sport. In consequence, this might relate to a relevant public-health issue.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  • Does the time of birth within a year (i.e. "relative age") and/or the maturity status influence motor performance, sport participation, and physical activity levels in school children?

Injuries in disability sports; definitions and methodologies

BACKGROUND

Fifteen percent of the world’s population live with disability, and many of these individuals choose to play sport. There are barriers to sport participation for athletes with disability and sports injury can greatly impact on daily life, which makes sports injury prevention additionally important.

OBJECTIVES

The purpose of this project is to review the definitions, methodologies and injury rates in disability sport, which should assist future identification of risk factors and development of injury prevention strategies. A specific focus lies on concussions in disability sports. A secondary aim is to highlight the most pressing issues for improvement of the quality of injury epidemiology research for disability sport.


BokSmart “Safe Six” Injury Prevention Programme

BokSmart “Safe Six” Injury Prevention Programme

Rugby union (hence ‘rugby’) is an international sport played in over 100 countries worldwide, at amateur and professional levels. Within South Africa, rugby is extremely popular with approximately 600,000 participants. The injury incidence and severity of rugby is reported to be one of the highest of all sports. This is largely explained by the high frequency of collisions between players, inherent to the sport. This high burden of injuries in rugby has required preventative measures to be implemented.

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European Fans in Training (EuroFIT); Social Innovation to improve physical activity and sedentary behaviour through elite European football clubs

FUNDING

European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 602170.

PROJECT PARTNERS

  • University of Glasgow (UK)
  • Norwegian School of Sports Sciences (Norway)
  • Technical University of Lisbon (Portugal)
  • Radboud University, Nijmegen Medical Centre
  • KU Leuven
  • Pintail Ltd
  • PAL Technologies Limited
  • European Healthy Stadia Network CIC

PROJECT WEBSITE

www.eurofitfp7.eu

BACKGROUND

20 million fans attend top division football games each week and many more watch on TV. Our aim is to attract these men, specially targeting low-SES men who do not achieve current recommendations for physical activity, to lifestyle change through the personal connection and loyalty to the club they support using the European Fans in Training (EuroFIT) programme. EuroFIT is informed and inspired by the Scottish FFIT programme, which validated several of the key concepts that underpin this project.

This project integrates two technologies within the EuroFIT programme. The first is a novel device (SitFIT) that allows self-monitoring of objectively measured sedentary time and physical activity through real-time feedback. SitFIT will be a low-cost device with an integrated display. The second is a game-based mobile-phone app, MatchFIT, in which players form ‘teams’ to participate in an ‘alternative MatchFIT league’ which mirrors fixtures in real football leagues. These technologies will be integrated into the new lifestyle change programme, EuroFIT, to be delivered in football club grounds by club coaches. 

The project will generate research evidence on the use of social innovation for health. Social impact will include reductions in health risk, improvements in well-being and the decreased inequalities as more men, especially those in low SES groups, are attracted to lifestyle change. Research impact will utilise new understanding of the how health indicators respond to change in sedentary behaviour and physical activity and through new knowledge of long-term maintenance of lifestyle changes. Policy impact will result from the production of clear implementation strategies and involvement of policy makers and opinion leaders from the outset, supported by a targeted communication strategy.

OBJECTIVES

  • Use State of the Art Theory and Evidence: To apply state-of-the-art theory and evidence on motivating and maintaining behavioral change to develop a technology-supported, culturally- and gender-sensitized lifestyle programme for men, to be delivered in top European football clubs.
  • Deliver EuroFIT in 15 Clubs: To deliver the EuroFIT programme in 15 leading football clubs across Europe and evaluate it in a pragmatic randomized controlled trial.
  • Review and Evaluate: To review and evaluate the programme in terms of experience of: a) its benefits (or harms) to participants; b) its benefits to families and wider social networks; and c) how best to refine the programme to make it most attractive to women, families and other groups.
  • Replication and Implementation: To maximize the likely implementation of EuroFIT beyond the funded project by developing detailed, validated guidelines on replication and implementation.

METHODS

This is a two arm, stratified, individually randomized, pragmatic, controlled trial with an accompanying process evaluation across 4 European countries. The trial will be conducted at 15 football clubs in Portugal, Norway, the Netherlands and England (UK). In each country, 60-80 participants will be recruited.

Using a mixed-methods, interdisciplinary approach the project will measure outcomes objectively, assess short-term cost-effectiveness and estimate long-term cost-effectiveness. We will investigate mediators of changes in health behaviours, and whether changes in lifestyle are themselves mediators of changes in clinically-measured risk factors, so that we can better understand pathways to improved physical health. We shall assess potential moderators of any effects of EuroFIT, to identify subgroups of the population for whom the programme is more or less beneficial. EuroFIT’s potential to impact on and attract other groups, particularly women and families, will be explored via qualitative research methods.


Recent Posts

Evaluation of the implementation effectiveness of the 'Strengthen your Ankle' app to prevent recurrent ankle sprains

Evaluation of the implementation effectiveness of the 'Strengthen your Ankle' app to prevent recurrent ankle sprains

 

Ankle sprains continue to pose a significant burden to the individual athlete, as well as society as a whole. However, despite ankle sprains being the single most common athletic injury and despite an active approach by various Dutch organizations in implementing our epidemiological knowledge on cost-effectiveness, large-scale community uptake of preventive measures, and thus actual prevention of ankle sprains, is lagging well behind. In an attempt to bridge this implementation gap VeiligheidNL looked into the possible role of new (social) media and has developed an freely available interactive App (‘Versterk je enkel’; available for iOS and Android) that contains - next to general advice on bracing and taping - the cost-effective neuromuscular program. This provides the user with, amongst others, video’s and an interactive exercise schedule. It is general belief that such interactive, online and mobile methods of information transfer are the way forward in implementation efforts. However, this has not yet been formally established for the uptake of evidence injury preventive measures, and - although user reviews are positive - the ‘Versterk je enkel’ App has not been evaluated against the ‘regular’ approach to advocate the neuromuscular program on paper and DVD.

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HealthPACT: a framework for prevention of sports injuries on the field

HealthPACT: a framework for prevention of sports injuries on the field

Regular participation in physical activity and sports increases the individual’s exposure to injury. Over the past decades the knowledge about prevention and treatment of various sports and physical activity related injuries (SPRI’s) has exponentially grown. Fortunately, based on the current available evidence it is reasonable to state that we are able to significantly cut down the risk of SPRI’s in for most participants in a wide array of sports and physical activities. However, wide-scale implementation of (cost-)effective measures under real-life conditions proves to be an ongoing challenge. 

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Improving physical activity in adolescents in deprived urban neighbourhoods

Improving physical activity in adolescents in deprived urban neighbourhoods

In general, schools have been recognized as key settings in promoting PA. Next to the home, the school is the environment where adolescents spent most of their time. Within the school, physical education lessons represents the main context in which adolescents have the opportunity to be physically active. Next to such structured and frequent PA opportunities, schools can cater irregularly for sporting days and other extracurricular activities. For the promotion of PA in the secondary school setting, interventions targeted at structural environmental changes have an important advantage over other interventions. Most PA provided by the school is on an irregular and/or non-daily basis. By altering the physical environment of a school’s grounds the adolescent is continuously exposed to PA possibilities. These changes then, of course, need to provide a continuous, appealing, challenging and socially safe PA environment. If this can be achieved all adolescents have the opportunity to be physically active each single day.

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Life after the game: quantitative and qualitative analyses of long-term effects of injuries in Rugby Union players

Life after the game: quantitative and qualitative analyses of long-term effects of injuries in Rugby Union players

Recent evaluations of the BokSmart programme indicate the programme is achieving some of it’s goals – the most important of which is the prevention of catastrophic injuries, there are some areas where the programme is less successful. These shortfalls could be ascribed, in part, to the enormous socioeconomic diversity that still exists in South Africa. Furthermore, some injury risk factors, specific to South Africa, have been identified during the evaluation of the BokSmart programme, particularly in youth populations. The South African Rugby Union has requested for on-going assistance from the existing ESSM/VUmc relationship to further improve the programme and to help ameliorate injury risk factors specific to the players of South Africa. Therefore, this research project aims to develop intervention strategies to reduce identified barriers and injury risk factors to a minimum.

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Running for health: the net health effect of running

Running for health: the net health effect of running

The objectives of this project are: (1) to summarise the evidence about the health benefits of running on biomedical health-indicators; (2) to summarise the evidence about the prevalence and incidence of the main running injuries; (3) to investigate the prevalence, nature and economical burden of running injuries in two different populations (trail and novice runners); and (4) to use the Knowledge Transfer Scheme (KTS) as a way to develop a strategy to implement in practice the current knowledge on running injury prevention.

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Sports Injury Prevention in Practice

Sports Injury Prevention in Practice

In the Netherlands, interventions have been developed and implemented to increase the uptake and correct use of efficacious preventive measures by community-level (amateur) athletes, with the overall goal to prevent sports injuries. These interventions include both primary and secondary sports injury prevention with the focus on individual athletes, trainers/coaches, sport clubs, and referees, within various field-based sport settings. Process and effect evaluations of these interventions provide insight into what works in real-world sport settings. The overall aim of the project is to gain insight into the effectiveness of various intervention strategies to promote the large-scale implementation of effective preventive interventions in real-world sports settings and optimize future implementation efforts.

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