Sufficient physical activity through sports participation is necessary to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases and to maintain economic viability, and as such is a fundament for public health.

Optimization of performance is key for recreational and elite sports, as well as talent development. Unfortunately, participation in physical activities and sports entails a risk for adverse health effects (injury and/or illness) that threaten sustainability.

Overall Aim

Within the Sports program, research focuses on the optimization of life long healthy participation and performance in physical activity and sports, by healthy individuals, disabled individuals, clinical patients, as well as recreational and (young) elite athletes. 

The research program deals with

  1. Fundamental questions underpinning the aetiology and pathways by which physical (in)activity optimizes, benefits, or harms health and performance;
  2. Optimization of performance, health monitoring, diagnostics, and learning techniques and strategies;
  3. The development of multidisciplinary clinical treatment and training guidelines, and improvement of health care interventions including their short- and long-term outcomes; and 
  4. The short and long term behavioural and objective effects of interventions (e.g. practice methods) targeted at physical activity promotion, injury / illness prevention, training and sports performance optimization, in various target groups within society, including the (cost-)effectiveness and implementation of such interventions. 

Interdisciplinary collaboration between named foci is actively pursued with the theme to deepen our understanding of contemporary issues and to optimize impact of interventions related to Sports. The program works closely together with the Institute of Sport Science (AISS).

Program Board

  • Professor dr. Evert Verhagen, Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc, (Program director);
  • Dr. Jos de Koning, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, VU Amsterdam (Program deputy director);
  • Professor dr. Mario Maas, Amsterdam UMC, location AMC;
  • Dr. Jos de Koning, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, VU Amsterdam,
  • Anne-Sophie van der Post, PhD candidate, Amsterdam UMC, location AMC;
  • Ton Leenen, PhD candidate, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, VU Amsterdam.

Program Members