The higher ranging goal of this research project is a sustainable lowering of the frequency of traumatic injuries, overuse damages and musculoskeletal disorders amongst competitive youth alpine skiers and, thereby, making an important contribution to development of future top-athletes.
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Competitive alpine skiing is a sport with a relatively high injury risk. A current pilot study revealed that almost 60% of all competitive alpine skiers suffer a severe knee injury in the early stages of their career (Spörri et al., unpublished data). These injuries invariably lead to an absence from training and/or competition, as well as performance reducing musculoskeletal disorders during the future career. Additionally, more than 20% of all competitive alpine skiers suffer from recurrent overuse complaints in their back area (Spörri et al., unpublished data). These complaints are most likely caused by the over straining of the spine during adolescence. Thus, developing and implementing effective prevention measures at youth level is vital to protect the health of athletes. However, an important pre-requisite for effective prevention is a fundamental understanding with regard to the epidemiology and etiology of these injuries, damages and disorders, as well as the development of sensitive screening tests for the detection of athletes at higher risks and early stages of degenerative diseases.
The scope of the project will cover the following partial goals:
• Epidemiology: Systematic registration of injuries, overuse damages and musculoskeletal disorders in competitive youth alpine skiers.
• Etiology: Identification of the causes of registered injuries and overuse damages, as well as the clarification of their relation to musculoskeletal disorders.
• Early risk/degenerative disease identification: Development of simple, but meaningful screening tests for detecting athletes at higher risks of later injuries, overuse damages and musculoskeletal disorders, as well as early stages of degenerative diseases.
• Prevention: Development of an evidence-based, national prevention strategy “Swiss-Ski” with a focus on competitive youth alpine skiers.
Embedment in Balgrist research
Extension of the research and teaching competence within the areas of early identification of higher injury risk/early stages of degenerative diseases and the prevention of sport injuries at the Balgrist University Hospital.
Academization of the sport medicine unit / Balgrist Move>Med
• Development of a multi sport injury prevention model
• Know how transfer to related research fields and university teaching
The Balgrist University Hospital and Balgrist Move>Med / Swiss Olympic Medical Center will strengthen their competencies and reputations as medical centers at which even the top athletes of Swiss-Ski will find excellent treatment and care.
The Balgrist University Hospital will be able extend the services from its established areas of diagnosis, treatment and care of all damages to the musculoskeletal system by the areas of early identification of higher injury risk/early stages of degenerative diseases and the prevention of sport injuries.