25 September 2010

EIS Injury & Illness Prevention Project (IIPP)

keeping ahead of the game@EIS

Whilst you can never rule out all prospects of an injury or illness in sport, the English Institute of Sport (EIS) and UK Sport have been working to identify how best to reduce the risks which could impact upon performance on the international sporting stage.

Before the Injury & Illness Prevention Project (IIPP) began, approximately 13% of sports used injury information to shape their preventative strategies. Now, 18 months into the project, 43% of Olympic sports reported using injury data to help keep their squads performing.

With less than two years to go until the London 2012 Olympic Games, keeping athletes competing at the highest level is vital for any sport.

“Suffering an injury can be devastating for elite athletes and in some cases it leads to the end of their sporting career” says Dr Rod Jaques, Director of Medical Services at the EIS.

“What’s really groundbreaking with this area of work is looking at injury data against exposure data – training and competition. This allows us to get a deeper understanding around the interventions we deploy to athletes and also gives coaches evidence based information” he adds.

With an average of 11 days of training lost per injury and 0.4 of competition events lost per injury and around 5 days of training and 0.3 of competition events lost per illness, being able to prevent athletes picking up injuries and illnesses is an important part of fielding the best team for sports.

“An employer would find this type of time off work an issue, and likewise sports need to address time lost in training and competition so that they can field their best teams and ensure they are ahead of the game when it comes to injury and illnesses” explains Jaques.

The Olympiad Review helped to identify the most performance-impacting injuries and illnesses to sports which were knee, shoulder, lumbar spine and upper respiratory tract infections. Of the 14 Olympic sports involved in the IIPP so far, the data collection continues and is providing individualised results, reports and feedback to help provide coaches, practitioners and other support staff with detailed information on the nature and causes of their sport specific injuries and illnesses.

Glenn Hunter, UK Sport’s lead Research and Innovation Consultant for Performance Medicine, said:

“Our job is to ensure British athletes reach the start line among the best prepared and most feared in the world. This particular piece of research allows EIS practitioners to provide evidence based interventions in sport science and medical care, giving British athletes confidence that their preparation is world class. It is the first time this in-depth approach has been taken and will help shape a better understanding of illness and injury in athletes across sports leading into the London 2012 Games.”

Dr Debbie Palmer- Green is the IIPP Research Scientist who has been working at the EIS to liaise closely with the practitioners working within sports to ensure the feedback provided is of best use to the sports.

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