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|Cycle for Science|
ESSKA, a group of orthopaedic surgeons and members of the Ankle Platform rode from the 2014 ESSKA hosting city, Amsterdam, to the 17th biennial ESSKA Congress in Barcelona. As organised by Prof. C. Niek van Dijk and his AMC faculty, the tour had a two-fold task — to raise awareness about the importance of exercise, and to raise money for the ESSKA Foundation to support research.
The tour consisted of six stages in four countries combined with four scientific symposia. The route included two classic “Tour de France-climbs” — the Alpe d’Huez and the Mont Ventoux.
Prof C. Niek van Dijk explained: "Every two years ESSKA holds its Congress, which moves from city to city. In 2014 it was Amsterdam, where I was Congress President, and this year it was Barcelona. I had the idea of conveying something symbolic from one venue to the next, as they do for the Olympics with the Olympic torch. Maybe, by carrying the Congress Sceptre, we could create another tradition for ESSKA. And what better way, than by cycling with a group of international surgeons?!
At the same time we wanted to emphasise the universal importance of exercise to prevent disease. Think of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, COPD, obesity, also osteoarthritis. Physical activity is one of the best treatments for OA, and it keeps joints healthy in the first place. Moderately intense exercise, five times a week, helps joints stay limber and strengthens the muscles that support and stabilise ankles, knees and hips. Exercise is also a key factor in weight control."
Prof. van Dijk continued: "The overall aim of the cycling was to raise money for the ESSKA Foundation, which supports research in orthopaedic sports medicine, emphasising prevention. To this end the symposia, the charity dinners and the auctions were all ancillary. All the cycling-surgeons have their own patients, sometimes world famous athletes and they asked them for autographed items, which were then auctioned. I myself obtained a jersey autographed by Messi, which I’ll hang in my office, next to Ronaldo’s jersey!"
Details on how you can participate in or support the 2018 tour from Barcelona to Glasgow will be available here closer to the date.