In 2007 our team was solicited by the Département ministériel des Sports to develop a concept of sports injury prevention for young athletes in Luxembourg. An applied research project was thus implemented at the Sportlycée to meet this request. The main aspect of the prevention concept is to ensure a permanent sports injury surveillance to quantify the risk and to sensitise involved actors in the field. The latter can follow the risk indicators of every athlete and receive recommendations on prevention initiatives to implement.
After 3 years the outcome is positive
After several years of follow-up the project proved to have been well worth the effort. The main conclusion of this year’s results is that the sports injuries of the young athletes at the Sportlycée are considerably reduced compared to previous years. This tendency is confirmed by a decrease of the proportion of injured athletes, of injury frequency and of injury incidence. Several observations suggest a positive change in the general context: in comparison to the previous year, we found a reduction of recurrent, overload and “intrinsic” injuries related to athlete behaviour.
This project, which initiated the development of the TIPPS software, will now be extended to other young athletes in Luxembourg thanks to the financial support of COSL (Comité Olympique et Sportif Luxembourgeois) and of the Olympic Solidarity of the International Olympic Committee.
View results of the 2010/11 follow-up:
Thanks to the support of the Département ministériel des Sports, the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory of CRP-Santé has initiated an injury surveillance program of young athletes from Luxembourg. The focus has been on the pupils of the Sportlycée since a few years now, and the impact on involved stakeholders seems to have come to fruition. The main outcome of the 2010/11 follow-up is that the number of sports injuries of the young athletes at the Sportlycée has decreased considerably over the years. This is reflected by several indicators:
1. The proportion of injured athletes has decreased to 67% (versus 73% and 74% in 2009 and 2010, respectively).
2. The frequency of injuries has dropped to 1.3 injuries per athlete (versus 1.7 and 1.9 in the two previous years)
3. Global injury incidence has decreased from 3.7 in 2009 and 4.5 in 2010 to 2.8 injuries/1000 hours of practice this year.
Furthermore, several results suggest a positive change of the general context. Compared to the previous year, we observed a favourable reduction in recurrent injuries from 26.5% to 10.9% of all injuries registered. This observation could be attributed to the personalised rehabilitation proposed to injured athletes by the physical therapists before returning to full sports practice. There was also a decrease in progressive overload injuries in terms of proportion of registered injuries, from 28.7% to 21.9%, and in terms of injury incidence, from 3.9 to 2.0 injuries/1000 hours. Again, the critical work of the physical therapists, as well as the general movement and physical training modules (PPG/PMG) proposed by the Sportlycée seem to have had a positive influence. These factors may also explain the reduction of intrinsic injuries compared to the previous years. In 16% of the cases, the injured athlete still chooses to participate in competition, but this number is lower than the 32% of last year. This favourable evolution may result from a greater awareness of the athletes, their trainers and other involved actors about the sports injury problematic.
Some aspects deserve further attention for future sports injury prevention initiatives. Team sports remain the category with the greatest injury risk, displaying a high injury incidence and a relative injury risk of 2 to 3 times greater compared to other sport categories. They also have a particularly high injury rate in the first trimester, a characteristic hardly noticed in other sports. Injury severity and type have changed little compared to previous years. The lower limbs, the lumbar region and the pelvis representing 75% of all injuries, are slightly on the rise and should remain the major focus for prevention exercises, especially in team sports in the first trimester.