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Our Program

Submitted by dldesros on Tue, 03/11/2014 - 2:33pm

      Our Mission      

      The Problem     

      Our Approach      

The University of Calgary Sport Medicine Centre is an integrated academic and clinical unit which has been providing service to the community of Calgary for almost two decades. There is an experienced multidisciplinary team with clinical and research expertise that has garnered an international reputation in all aspects of sport medicine. Over the past 15 years we have developed a unified group of researchers and clinicians with the common goal of injury prevention. We have established a research team and structure called the "Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre" (SIPRC). As part of this initiative, we have built this multidisciplinary team with representatives from the fields of epidemiology, biostatistics, orthopaedic surgery, sport medicine, physical therapy, athletic therapy, biomechanics, mechanical engineering, bone and joint health science, health economics, health psychology, sociology and public health policy. This team has focused on epidemiologic studies as well as developing and implementing new intervention strategies to prevent injuries in child and adolescent sport. Through a large survey we have established target youth sport populations (i.e. soccer, hockey, basketball, snowboarding) and the most common injuries (i.e. ankle, knee, concussion) for future research priorities. These prevention strategies will be implemented to have the greatest population health impact.

The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre (SIPRC) has also been recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Medical and Scientific Department as an international leader in researching and preventing sports injuries through a four-year grant to stimulate further research and collaboration. The University of Calgary’s SIPRC was granted one of the four prestigious awards. This award will enable the SIPRC research group to continue their successful sport injury prevention work and will help to significantly expand their research in coming years. The aim of this research grant, will be to increase knowledge in the field of injury prevention and the protection of athletes' health. The nine successful research units are:

  • Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre (SIPRC), University of Calgary, Canada
  • Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention, Federation University Australia, Australia
  • Institute of Sports Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark
  • Yonsei University, Republic of Korea (South Korea)
  • Amsterdam Collaboration on Health & Safety in Sports, VU University and Academic Medical Centre, Netherlands
  • Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Norway
  • Aspetar, Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Qatar
  • Clinical Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Group, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • London’s Institute for Sports, Exercise and Health (ISEH) and National Centre for Sports Exercise and Medicine (NCSEM), United Kingdom

Our Mission

To develop and evaluate strategies to prevent sport injuries using a multidisciplinary team with representatives from the disciplines of epidemiology, biostatistics, orthopaedic surgery, sport medicine, physical therapy, athletic therapy, health economics, health psychology, sociology, biomechanics, mechanical engineering, and bone and joint health science.

The Problem

Sport and recreation injuries in children and adolescents are a significant health problem in Canada. Sport and recreation is the leading cause of injury requiring medical attention, as well as Emergency Department admissions, in Canadian adolescents. In Calgary and area, based on recent survey data (n=2873) the reported rate of adolescent sport injury requiring medical attention is 40 injuries per 100 adolescents each year (40 percent). The common sports with high risk are basketball, hockey, soccer, and snowboarding. The most commonly injured body parts are the ankle, knee and head. These populations and injury types need to be targeted with prevention strategies to reduce injuries. They are costly, common and affect the injured person for a lifetime.

How does child and adolescent injury affect quality of life?

Sport and recreation injuries significantly impact the quality of life of Canadians. Many adolescents participate in sports, providing ample opportunity for injury in this population. Based on the Canadian Population Health Survey, 65% of adolescents reported participation in regular physical activity - at least 12 times per month. By later life, less than 40% of the population over age 18 participates in regular physical activity. Similar findings are reported in other countries. In our 2004 survey, more than 60% of adolescents report participating in at least one sport more than 3 hours per week. It is estimated that 8% of adolescents drop out of recreational sporting activities each year because of injuries. Physical fitness is a significant predictor of death and illness. In addition costs - both to the individual, their parents and the health care system are of paramount concern.

Do injuries lead to Arthritis?

Injuries have been documented to be a leading cause of the development of osteoarthritis in later life. There is evidence that knee and ankle injuries, specifically, result in an increased risk of development of osteoarthritis (OA). There is a significant public and personal cost associated with these injuries and future development of osteoarthritis. A severe knee injury in youth (i.e. anterior cruciate ligament injury and/or meniscus injury) will increase the risk of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis 10-fold, 12 years following the injury. Reduction of sport and recreation-related injury both improves quality of life through the maintenance and promotion of active living and the prevention of osteoarthritis. We need also remember that the early onset of arthritis as a result of childhood injury is a difficult problem. Young adults with premature arthritis - as a result of injury - are less active, less productive and the emotional and societal costs are only beginning to be measured. Finally, a young adult is not a candidate for surgery and has to live with pain for years.

Our Approach

A four stage approach is proposed to study injury prevention in sport.

  • First, valid surveillance must be used to measure the extent or magnitude of injury in a given population.
  • Second, causes of injury or risk factors must be identified.
  • Third, Injury Prevention Strategies must be developed.
  • Fourth, Randomized Controlled Trials or other intervention studies must be conducted to measure the impact of the prevention strategy.

Evidence is developing to support prevention of injury in child and adolescent sport through training programs, equipment changes, and rule modification. The successful completion of prospective studies (including RCT's) targeting adolescents, demonstrates that this type of research is feasible in this population. For example, we have demonstrated the protective effect of a lower extremity balance training program using a wobble board in reducing injury in both high school physical education participants and basketball players. In hockey, we have established in a study that the primary mechanism of injury in players over age 11 is body checking followed by other intentional contact injuries. It is critical that further research is done to examine the effect of body contact policies in minor hockey such that conclusive recommendations can be made to policy makers, parents, coaches and sport governing bodies.

The underlying drive of the Centre will be to take and produce best evidence as a catalyst for change in the general community. With our multidisciplinary collaboration, the important goal of reducing injury in the child and adolescent population can be met. This will substantially improve the quality of life of Canadians, removing barriers to an active, healthy lifestyle and preventing the development of arthritis later in life.

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