The no contact injuries produced to the soft tissues —muscles, tendons and ligaments— are the most common injury in professional football; they represent almost 50% of all injuries per season and equipment. In spite that the incidence of ligamentous injuries has decreased in recent years and clubs have carried out several preventive programs, the number of muscular injuries has remained stable. A recent epidemiological study by UEFA estimates that this type of lesions is represents 36% of the total.
In 2009, Dr Rosa Artells, professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Radiology and Anatomy of Faculty of Medicine at the University of Barcelona (UB), and Dr Ricard Pruna, doctor of the Medical Services of the Football Club Barcelona, began a study to research the influence of genetic components on soft tissues injuries (muscles, ligaments and tendons) produced by non-contact. Study results led to the creation of a UB patent which has just been transferred to the spin-off SM Genomics. By analysing the gen HGF, the company will develop a procedure to evaluate sportsmen’s predisposition to suffer a muscular injury, estimate how much time they need to recover from it and measure injury severity.
UEFA study also highlights that on average a soccer player is injured two times a year; that means around 50 annual injuries per team. Therefore, 12% of player workforce is not available to compete. Obviously, this involves negative consequences both for the individual performance of the athlete and the team, as well as economic consequences.
Genetic analysis provides reliable, objective and invariable information which, applied to sport, allows assessing the predisposition to get injured. Then, personal and adapted training plans can be elaborated, so sportsmen will improve their achievement thanks to a reduction in the number of injuries. The Bosch i Gimpera Foundation has accompanied entrepreneurs in the definition of the business idea, the evaluation of the patentability strategy and the negotiation of the technology transfer contract. Moreover, the Foundation is helping them in the search for public and private funding.
Created in 2013, Sports Medicine Genomics (SM Genomics) is a company that applies genetics to sport medicine in order to help professional athletes improving their achievement and amateur sportsmen personalizing their physical training and making it healthier. Headquartered at the Barcelona Science Park (PCB), the company became an UB spin-off in 2015.