CONNECT 2017: International Congress on Connective Tissue
Tendons, Ligaments, Cartilage and Fascia

Ulm University

 Connective tissue, a fibrous tissue that encompasses ligaments, tendons, joint capsules and muscle fascia is often plagued by injury. Professional athletes as well as amateur sportsmen are familiar with this occurrence and often struggle with the injury's legacy. In the spirit of preventing and managing such occurrences, professional trainers, physiotherapists, sport physicians and physiologists are coming together at the CONNECT 2017 - CONNECTIVE TISSUES IN SPORTS MEDICINE conference. The conference takes place from the 16th to 19th of March at the University of Ulm.

It will be Ulm's second time hosting the international conference. The organisers include the Division of Sports and Rehabilitation Medicine and the Fascia Research Group of Ulm University, together with the Bezirkskliniken Schwaben, a nearby academic hospital group. The conference will see the coming together of many renowned connective tissue specialists and respected persons from the world of football. Among the latter is DFB head physiotherapist, Klaus Eder. As described by Professor Jürgen Steinacker, head of Sports and Rehabilitation Medicine at Ulm University Hospital, "Klaus Eder, with his healing hands, has enhanced the credibility of muscular fascial tissue treatment".

Dr. Müller-Wohlfahrt will be awarded a Clinical Pioneer Award

The conference will also be graced by well-respected sports physician and football enthusiast, Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt. He was team physician for FC Bayern Munich from 1977 to 2015 and has untiringly served the German national football team since 1995. Often referred to as the "Bayern Doc", Müller-Wohlfahrt is a pioneer in the field of fascial diagnosis, treatment and therapy. His contribution has captivated many in sports medicine, causing them to appreciate the role of fascia - the collagenous tissue found around and between muscles - in muscular injury and pain. As a sign of appreciation, Müller-Wohlfahrt will be awarded a Clinical Pioneer Award, presented by Professor Thomas Findley, founder of the tnternational Fascia Research Society. The ceremony will take place on the 18th of March at 11am.

 While fascia may be at the forefront of the conference, the intricacies of other connective tissue types - ligaments, tendons, joint capsules and cartilage - will also be appreciated.  Research results from a multitude of studies will be presented to support and stir the many planned discussions. Topics include factors influencing the susceptibility of connective tissues damage, as well as the influence of gender, hormones and genetics on the functional and regenerative capacity of connective tissue.  

How can  inflammatory processes be detected?

 More specifically, the inflammation associated with connective tissue will be explored. Example questions to be discussed around include: What specific processes are in action during inflammatory processes in muscular connective tissues? Can it be detected in vivo? Can inflamed tissue be medically treated? What are the regulatory mechanisms that affect muscle tonus? It is believed that this interdisciplinary dialogue will continue to shape and influence the field of connective tissue therapy and rehabilitation in sports medicine.

 Discussions aside, various events geared towards the prevention and treatment of sports injuries are planned for. Events include expertly guided workshops on the diagnosis of connective tissue injury via new imaging methods, and fascia-centered coaching on running techniques, rehabilitation and physical therapy.

 In short, the diversity that defines CONNECT 2017 will pave the way to the future. Paraphrasing Jürgen M. Steinacker, "Considering the multitude of interdisciplinary exchanges, the Ulm based conference will give rise to innovation in the field of connective tissue research. We will witness the birth of exciting research projects."

 Further information:

Stefanie Eckardt, Division of Sports and Rehabilitation Medicine

Tel: 0731 500 45310; E-Mail: stefanie.eckardt(at); Web:

Text and Media Contact: Andrea Weber-Tuckermann

Translation: Raveen Kulenthran

Sebastian Griesbeck from the soccer club 1. FC Heidenheim
Tendons, joint capsules and muscle fascia of professional athletes are often plagued by injury. Pictured: Sebastian Griesbeck from the soccer team 1. FC Heidenheim (photo: 1. FC Heidenheim)
Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt
Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, team physician for the German national football team (photo: private)
Klaus Eder
DFB head physiotherapist, Klaus Eder (photo: Beate Michalke - Copyright: Eden Reha)