The aims of our scientific research project are to investigate possible contributions of dental, occlusal and psychosocial problems to sport (re-)injuries of elite football players, to evaluate the effects of improvement of occlusal and dental problems on postural control and the risk of sport (re-)injuries and to examine ways in which dental, occlusal and biopsychosocial problems interact to enhance the risk of sport-injuries.

We are very proud that professional football clubs in Holland, Belgium and England are participating in our research project and that  medical and paramedical staffs furnish important contributions to the execution of the studies.

The presence of a number of dental/occlusal problems (SumDental) is one of the most important intrinsic risk factors for sports (re) injuries in  professional football players.

RETROSPECTIVE CROSS-SECTIONAL  RESEARCH
This research was conducted to investigate whether dental and occlusal problems may be regarded as potential risk factors of sports injuries, because of  correlations with presence and number of re-injuries, especially re-injuries of muscles, tendons and ligaments.

In addition we examined (1) whether dental and occlusal problems showed unique contributions, over and above the contribution of age and psychosocial factors, in the prediction of previous and actual (re) injuries and (2) ways in which dental, occlusal and biopsychosocial problems may interact to enhance the risk of sports injuries.

Over 200 professional football players completed the Sports Injury Risk Indicator (SIRI), a questionnaire, proudly developed by SportInjuryLab. The SIRI contains questions on previous and actual injuries, age, playing position, dental/occlusal problems, actual physical health, (re)injury anxiety, team cohesion, satisfaction with trainer and staff, psychophysical stress and eating habits. The study was completed in the spring of 2012.

The main conclusion is that the presence of a number of dental/occlusal problems (SumDental) is one of the most important intrinsic risk factors for sports (re) injuries in  professional football players. Part of this research project was presented at the 3rd World Congress on Science and Soccer, May 2012 in Ghent (B). In addition we used the results of this study to further develop  the SIRI.

Prevention of (re)injury may start with the measurement of postural control followed by interventions aimed at improvement of postural control.

NON-CONTROLLED CLINICAL TRIAL
Postural control (balance) while in a unilateral stance have been shown to predict susceptibility to  injury. Therefore, prevention of (re)injury may start with the measurement of postural control followed by interventions aimed at improvement of postural control. Clinical reports suggest that malocclusions may have a strong negative impact on postural control. In a study planned for 2012, a non-controlled clinical trial design will be used to evaluate the effect of cranial osteopathic interventions on postural control with a sample of 60 professional football players in Belgium and  the Netherlands.

NATURALISTIC RESEARCH
This research uses our system of routine outcome measurement of osteopathic interventions and dental advice and a registration system documenting the duration of injuries, the number of hours spent in training of the squad and the amount of match time hours (both systems are planned for 2013). Using a naturalistic research design, we evaluate our interventions and advices for professional football players by direct measures (e.g. improvement of postural control) and indirect measures including the frequency and duration of the various injuries during the run up to the season and during the season.