Prevention of sports injuries on the field


Evert Verhagen


The project team is composed of Saulo Delfino Barboza (Physiotherapist / PhD candidate), Evert Verhagen (Associate Professor), Frank Bloemers (surgeon) and Willem van Mechelen (professor). Within this project there is cooperation with the International Hockey Federation (FIH), the KNLTB, National Olympic Committee (NOC), as well as several field hockey clubs.


Background: Regular participation in physical activity and sports increases the individual’s exposure to injury. Over the past two decades the knowledge about prevention and treatment of various sports and physical activity related injuries (SPRI’s) within different sports 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 intervention measures and treatment protocols under real life conditions proves to be an ongoing challenge.

Objectives:The aim of the proposed project is to develop and evaluate a knowledge network in which team physicians, team physical therapists, hospital specialists, and researchers share their experiences and knowledge regarding the treatment and prevention of SPRI, with an overall goal to implement applicable scientific evidence on the prevention and treatment of injuries to the end users. We propose to implement a continuous injury and risk exposure registration of players from which ongoing team and player specific feedback can be provided. 
Specifically the proposed study seeks to answer whether coaches, players and / or physical therapists / team physician implement and adopt scientific evidence on the prevention and treatment of SPRI when they are presented with evidence that is only applicable to their current situation; and to establish the facilitators and barriers to implement and adopt scientific evidence on the prevention and treatment of SPRI.

Methods: The proposed implementation framework has been concocted by and will be evaluated within the existing AmsterdamZuid Hockey Initiative. A network of VUmc clinicians, researchers and elite hockey clubs in the near vicinity (Amsterdamse Bos). We will effectuate a validated online prospective injury registration system within the participating hockey clubs. This injury registration system not only registers risk exposure and acute (time loss) injuries, but also is able to log overuse problems and disease. The registration will run for an entire hockey season, after which the outcomes for each team will be evaluated and discussed with the coach and physical therapist / team physician. In agreement evidence of solutions to team specific health and injury issues will be sought and translated into the specific setting of each team. Additionally, based upon general findings education modules will be developed and provided. Individual players who have suffered injury or at increased risk for injury are invited for a more elaborate biomechanical and health screening from which a personalized advice can be given.

Outcome Measures:Outcome measures of this study revolve around the uptake of the individualized advice. During a follow-up season coaches, physicians and players will be monitored to register the continuing adherence to the given recommendations. This will be monitored through regular site visits at the team’s training sessions and matches. During this second season also attitudes, barriers and facilitators in relation to the uptake and adherence to recommendations will be recorded. For this purpose questionnaires will be employed.