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Local academic network educates YOG athletes about health issues

Lausanne 2020 has worked with several partners to infuse innovation into the third edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games, and several academic institutions have helped to prepare educational activities for the young athletes. One programme rolled out is “Health for Performance”, developed jointly by the Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). At dedicated spaces in the Youth Olympic Villages in Lausanne and St. Moritz, the young athletes learn more about health-related topics, such as concussions in sport, nutrition or stress management.

The programme is based on a smart software application called ‘Health for Performance’. To use it, participants first create an avatar that guides them through various tests. The software then analyses the test results and gives suggestions to help the user train more efficiently and reduce the chance of injury while competing. It includes other risk-prevention-related features, such as a virtual-reality system that allows the user to experience and detect a concussion, and a programme providing advice on stress management, sleep and nutrition.

The young athletes can also test balance and coordination on connected treadmills, learn how to prevent sports injuries, speak with physical-training experts and measure their performance against other athletes.

In a move to include the general public in this innovative project and promote health on a larger scale, a dedicated pavilion is located next to the Vaudoise Arena in Lausanne during Games time. Here people are provided with the opportunity to try out the application – a hit across all ages. From next year, anyone will be able to use the Health for Performance application at a new smart training building, set to be constructed at the UNIL-EPFL sports centre.

The project has been driven by experts in sports medicine, sport sciences and technology who work and innovate together through SMART MOVE, an association of academic institutions at the heart of “sports valley” in western Switzerland and a member of ThinkSport.

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