7 December 2017

In 2016, 121,000 people in the Netherlands sought emergency care for sports injuries. Every year, there are 4.5 million injuries in the Netherlands, accounting for 5 million euros in direct medical costs. Half of these injuries could potentially be prevented through effective support and self-management.

   

In a new, wide-ranging research project, universities, businesses and sports organisations are set to join forces in an effort to reduce this large number of sports injuries with the help of technology. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is providing a grant of 4 million euros to support the project. In addition, businesses and sports organisations are jointly investing 2.2 million euros in the project. Delft University of Technology and VU University Amsterdam will take the lead in this nationwide research consortium that aims to make injury-free exercise possible for everyone.
One of the angles in this project is overheating. Maria Hopman and Thijs Eijsvogels from the department of Physiology participate in this part of the project. Running causes the body temperature to rise. In the Zevenheuvelenloop (Seven Hills Run), 15% of runners has a body temperature above 40° Celsius by the time they reach the finishing line. In order to identify potentially dangerous situations at an early stage, sensors can be embedded into clothing to measure skin and core temperature and camera systems can be used during running competitions. During exertion in hot conditions, like at the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, preventive measures could be used to regulate body temperature, such as a vest that cools the body based on information from these sensors.
The project, Citius Altius Sanius,  aims to promote participation in sport, prevent injuries and improve performance in both amateur and top-level sport. This can be achieved by providing the athlete with information via sensors, data science technology and psychology-inspired smart feedback devices in order to influence their behaviour.
   
This research is conducted within the themes: Mitochondrial diseases and Vascular damage.

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