How to reduce the number of injuries to athletes

© Picture credits: Marc Gürber

Please meet today Marc Gürber who is thrilled to share his experience with you. His project is hosted by the Universität Bern.

Picture credits: Marc Gürber

Could you describe your BRIDGE Proof of Concept project in a few words?

In freeski and snowboard freestyle, athletes perform their tricks on very large jumps. The correct flight distance is crucial for landing in the correct zone when jumping. Landing outside this zone can lead to very serious injuries. The skill of estimating and controlling flight distance describes the ability to predict the resulting flight distance based on the current environmental conditions (wind, snow, visibility) and to control it accordingly. Like pilot training on a flight simulator, the aim is to train in a virtual simulation and transfer skills to a real-life situation. My BRIDGE Proof of Concept project involves the development and scientific evaluation of a virtual reality training application.

What was your motivation to apply to BRIDGE Proof of Concept?

I discovered the potential of my project while conducting research for my master’s thesis. The encouraging data, coupled with the positive feedback from the field — namely from athletes and coaches — indicates a promising potential. As a former coach, my aim is to make changes that would reduce the number of injuries to athletes, by implementing a more skill-oriented approach.

Did the special call play a role in your decision to submit a BRIDGE Proof of Concept project?

There’s no denying that freeski and snowboard freestyle are distinctively niche areas. They often don’t receive the same level of attention as sectors such as medicine or healthcare. However, my timing was good, as I had just handed in my master’s thesis. Fortunately, a large part of it applied to the BRIDGE Proof of Concept proposal.

BRIDGE is about implementation. What does this mean in concrete terms for your project?

Beyond research, it is essential to understand the specific needs of athletes, coaches, and other players such as ski resorts and event organisers. The challenge is to design a product that meets these needs and generates revenue. Furthermore, it is crucial to consider the implications for other sports and potential areas of application.