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.
Running causes the body temperature to rise. In the Zevenheuvelenloop (Seven Hills Run), held last weekend in the Dutch city of Nijmegen, 15% of runners had 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.
This is one of the concrete future applications featured in the extensive research proposal Citius Altius Sanius (Faster, Higher, Healthier) that was recently awarded a grant worth 4 million euros by NWO Applied and Engineering Sciences. The proposal 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. Examples could include a 24/7 monitoring system that provides runners with information on the optimum levels of training difficulty and the best time to train in the day or week in order to prevent injury.
The research is being conducted by an alliance of eight universities and university medical centers and six universities of applied sciences who will collaborate on the project with NOC*NSF (Dutch Olympic Committee/Dutch Sports Federation), more than 20 businesses (including Royal Dutch Gazelle, adidas and insurance company Zilveren Kruis), several sports associations, including those representing football (KNVB), hockey (KNHB), Baseball (KNBSB) and tennis (KNLTB), sports teams (including Team Sunweb), sports physicians and sports physiotherapy practices.
Participating universities and university medical centres: TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, University Medical Center Groningen/Groningen University, Leiden University, VU University Amsterdam, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam Medical Center and the Radboud University Medical Centre, together with six universities of applied sciences: Fontys University of Applied Sciences, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, HAN University of Applied Sciences and Breda University of Applied Sciences.
Participating businesses/organisations: adidas, Borre, Bosch, Cinoptics, Dopple, Golazo Sports SX, City of Amsterdam, City of Eindhoven, Inmotio Object Tracking, InnoSportLab Sport & Beweeg!, IZI BodyCooling.com, Knowledge Centre for Sports Netherlands, Royal Dutch Gazelle, ManualFysion, 2M Engineering, Motekforce Link, MYLAPS, myTemp, NedCard, Noldus, NovioSens, Plux, Qualogy, Reade Rehabilitation, Sailing Innovation Centre, SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research, Virtuagym and Zilveren Kruis.
Participating sports representatives: NL Actief, International Tennis Federation, Stichting Nijmeegse Vierdaagse (Nijmegen Four Days Marches Foundation), NOC*NSF, KNBSB, KNVB, KNHB, KNLTB, Watersport Association, Team Sunweb, Stichting Zevenheuvelenloop (Seven Hills Run Foundation).
Role of 2M Engineering
Together with TU/e 2M Engineering aims to support people in achieving an active and healthy lifestyle through injury-free running. At the moment, real life 24/7 monitoring systems are not available on the consumer market. Contact 2M for more information.