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EU-Project Safety in Sports


Gemeinsam mit Partnern aus Europa haben wir „General Guidelines for Sports Injury Prevention“ entwickelt.

A majority of European citizens regularly participates in physical activities, as a member of a sports organisation or on an individual basis.

There are many reasons for sports to be popular: We all need regular physical activity in order to feel well and to prevent chronic illnesses. Sport has both a strong educational dimension and a sociocultural function.

But certainly sport also holds a risk of injury. About one in five medically treated injuries is related to sporting activities. For the EU-27 region, the number of sports related injuries treated in hospitals can be estimated at 5.2 million cases a year.

Fortunately, there are many possibilities that have already shown to support sports injury prevention:

  • sport specific training and advanced athletic preparation
  • promotion of protective equipment and safe facilities
  • political and technical approaches
  • medical and non-medical support
  • coaches‘ education In the light of the global dimension of sporting activities it is important to share best practices and to assist European and national organisations in promoting sports injury prevention.

Less injuries – better performance

The project “Safety in Sports” was co-financed by the European Commission (Grant Agreement 2007329) and aimed at the following goals:

  • increasing the awareness of sports injuries and creating a positive image of injury prevention
  • reducing the magnitude and severity of sports related injuries in Europe as an ultimate goal.

Each sport has its specific character and related injury risks. Therefore preventive training methods have to be tailored to the specific type of sport and integrated within currently accepted training practices. Experience also shows that compliance can be enhanced if athletes and coaches also recognise the performance enhancing character of the measures.

Project activities

The project wanted to establish a sustainable European network of experts from science, sports clubs and sports associations as well as from other institutions that have a keen interest in preventing sports injuries. On the long run these experts will work together to identify, evaluate and widely disseminate best practices in implementing safety promotion strategies for individual and team sports.

For the mid-term, the project focused on the two chosen pilot sports handball and basketball which enjoy great, European-wide popularity. In close collaboration with the EHF (European Handball Federation) and FIBA Europe (Fédération Internationale de Basketball), national sports associations and a network of experts, the project team worked on:

  • an up-to-date inventory on the burden of sports injuries.
  • identification of existing injury prevention measures and safety promotion strategies in sports, especially in handball and basketball.
  • consensus building on best practices in sports injury prevention and implementation strategies for handball and basketball.
  • developing toolkits containing the most promising preventive measures and promotion strategies, always regarding the special demands of the collaborating sports federations, stakeholders and target groups in handball and basketball.
  • pilot implementation of these toolkits for handball and basketball as pilots in two national associations, respectively.
  • elaboration of general guidelines on how to develop, implement and sustain safety management schemes in basketball and handball as well as in other team sports.

Target groups

The project results are of interest for:

  • sportsmen and -women
  • experts (coaches, sports scientists, physiotherapists, sports medicine specialists etc.)
  • representatives of sports associations (at European, national and local level) and other institutions (e.g. insurances, sports policy)
  • policy makers working in national and local government with a keen interest in promoting safe sporting

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