Skating on thick ice

PROJECT PARTNERS

  • KNSB (Koninklijke Nederlandsche Schaatsenrijders Bond)

BACKGROUND

Long track speed skating is the most famous and successful competitive winter sport for the Netherlands. Dutch speed skaters won 16 out of 42 speed skating medals at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang. About 22.000 athletes are regularly competing in speed skating in the Netherlands.   

Speed skating is a physically highly demanding sport with a unique movement patternplacing a high mechanical load on the muscular- skeletal system. A skater adopts an aero dynamical, crouched body posture, characterized by a small knee angles and a nearly horizontal trunk position. In this position, the skater generates a powerful sideward directed impulse of the lower extremity to create a high forward speed.  

While clinically experience indicates that acute and overuse injuries are common in this physically highly demanding sport, there is little sport specific scientific data on injury epidemiology and injury prevention. Consequently, measures to prevent injuries are mainly based on clinical experience and knowledge of experts in this sport.  

The aim of this research project is therefore (i) to develop an evidence based, sport specific injury prevention program for young talented speed skaters in the Netherlands. Here, a broad research focus will be applied by including external evidence as well as (clinical) experience of experts in the field of speed skating injuries.  (ii) to implement this program in real-life sporting context and (iii) to evaluate its effectiveness. To initiate this, first the existing gaps in sport specific injury prevention knowledge needs to be closed by conducting a comprehensive analysis of relevant acute and overuse injuries in speed skating. 

Insights from this project will contribute to protect the health of talented Dutch speed skaters and, therefore, promote long term and healthy participation in speed skating.