12 Mar 19

What is the best way to reduce football (soccer) injuries?

Football (or soccer) injuries can and do occur, whether we like it or not. The most common injuries being that of the lower limbs including ankles, knees, groin, hamstrings and calves. One injury of note, which is particularly troublesome and has a high incidence in football, are anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures in the knee, which can result in the need for surgery, significant rehabilitation and a lengthy period of time on the sideline (typically in the order of 12 months).

How do you prevent football (soccer) injuries?

The single best way to reduce football-specific injuries, including ACL ruptures, is through the regular completion of the FIFA 11+ warm-up program. It is a series of exercises, which has been proven to reduce injury rates in footballers of all levels, ages (14+) and genders. There is also a FIFA 11+ kids version for those 7 – 13 years – see below for specific details. The FIFA 11+ is designed to be used as a warm-up prior to all training sessions and there is an abbreviated version to be used prior to games. The FIFA 11+ program is your warm-up – there is no need for coaches or players to implement any additional warm-up!

There are ample resources available for FIFA 11+ program, including exercise posters, instruction manuals and more – read on for details on how to have these sent out to you.

As physiotherapists with a strong interest in sports, we would love to see all soccer players (14 years and older) completing the FIFA 11+ program as a warm-up. We cannot see any reason why this shouldn’t be standard practice for coaches to implement. The evidence is there to indicate that this is the single best injury-prevention measure available and as such there simply shouldn’t be any excuse not to use it.

If your coach is not using the FIFA 11+, you may wish to point this out to them. We are always more than happy to speak to coaches and provide them with resources (for free!) – so get them to get in touch with us.

If you would like copies of any of the FIFA 11+ resources to implement yourself or with a team that you coach, we would be more than happy to provide these. Simply contact Brendan Limbrey (APA Sports & Exercise Physiotherapist) by email and he will send them out to you.

Is there a football injury prevention program for kids?

Yes, there is a separate football-specific injury prevention program for children aged 7-13 called the FIFA 11+ Kids. As younger children are not as skeletally mature as older children or adults, they are subject to a completely different type of injuries. As such, a separate set of warm-up exercises have been devised to help prevent injuries in soccer players of this age.

The FIFA 11+ Kids works in a similar manner as that of the FIFA 11+, in that it should be performed prior to training and games.

There are ample resources available for FIFA 11+ Kids program, including exercise posters, instruction manuals and more – read on for details on how to contact us to have these sent out to you.

As physiotherapists with a strong interest in sports, we would love to see all soccer players (including kids) completing an appropriate injury prevention program as a warm-up. We cannot see any reason why this shouldn’t be standard practice for coaches and clubs to implement. The evidence is there to indicate that this is the single best injury-prevention measure available and as such there simply shouldn’t be any excuse not to use it.

If your coach or club is not using the FIFA 11+ Kids, you may wish to point this out to them. We are always more than happy to speak to coaches or clubs and provide them with resources (for free!) – so get them to get in touch with us.

If you would like copies of any of the FIFA 11+ Kids resources to implement yourself or with a team that you coach, we would be more than happy to provide these. Simply contact Brendan Limbrey (APA Sports & Exercise Physiotherapist) by email and we will send them out to you.

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