Background Sports injuries are the most common injury type in Finland. The Sports and Exercise Safety in Finland (LiVE) program started in 2006, and is financially supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
Objectives The aim of the program is to increase safety of sports and exercise in a nationwide setting.
Methods LiVE research projects are carried out in Tampere Research Centre of Sports Medicine. Epidemiology and prevention of sports injuries are in focus on the studies. Results are spread to the field by two campaigns, Healthy Athlete (TU) and Safety in School Sports (TEKO). The target group of the TU is young athletes, their coaches and parents. The target group of the TEKO is secondary school students, their teachers and parents. LiVE program educates annually LiVE-instructors who work in different operational environments. The 1-year education is directed for coaches, physical therapists, PE teachers and PE instructors. Educated LiVE-instructors uses a four-step-approach to prevent injuries: 1) Survey in a target group, 2) Analyses and planning, 3) Implementation, and 4) Evaluation.
Results Two large randomised controlled trials have been carried through. Also, numerous original studies of sports injury epidemiology have been published. Results have been spread to the field by education and communication. Today, overall 55 LiVE-instructors work in different organisations (eg, sports federations, sports clubs, schools). In addition, the program has appeared annually in about 30 different sports and school events. LiVE website has attracted 4000–6000 visitors and 40,000–60,000 hits per month.
Conclusion Implementation of preventive strategies against sports injuries will result in a reduction of the number of health problems and work or school absenteeism, as well as a clear decrease in the medical costs. Essential results of the LiVE program will be expressed within five to 10 years.
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