Background Many studies have been performed to gain insight into the effectiveness of measures and training programs to prevent sports injuries. An overview of effective measures is essential in order to translate research results into policy recommendations and interventions, together with insight in potential barriers and possibilities for these measures to be used in real-life.
Objective Gain insight in current scientific knowledge with regard to the effectiveness of sports injury prevention measures and give recommendations for the use by the athletic population on a national level. Results are published in the European database on injury prevention (http://www.eurosafe.eu.com) and made generally known to the Dutch target population.
Design Literature was searched systematically and reviewed independently by two researchers on methodology and relevance as an update of a previous study performed in 2000. The results were reviewed by 15 (inter)national experts (sport scientists and/or sport physicians). If research was lacking or contradictory, experts' opinion was used as a guideline.
Intervention 20 Primary preventive measures were selected that can be used by sport athletes and trainers, including taping and bracing, personal protective equipment, shoe features, warm-up, stretching, and various training programs. Measures are evaluated as single interventions or part of multifaceted training programs.
Main outcome measurements Indications of effectiveness to prevent sports injuries and recommendations for practice and further research are given for every measure.
Results Based on controlled study designs, only six measures have been proven to be effective for the prevention of sports injuries. Implementation of these measures in real-life is strongly recommended. Several measures lack sufficient evidence.
Conclusion This study emphasises the need of additional research on the efficacy of several measures, and especially to evaluate the effect in real-life on compliance, behaviour and number of injuries. Currently, pilot studies are performed in the Netherlands to evaluate these effects in new interventions.
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