Football fever continues with Germany just winning the Brazil 2014 World Cup Final.
The Socceroos World Cup preparation was riddled by injury, with big names Tom Rogic (groin), Josh Kennedy (back), Mile Jedinak (groin) being affected. Away from the 2014 World Cup, the Matilda’s squad also suffered an influx of knee injuries .
The call for preventative measures toward the high incidence of lower limb injuries in football players has not fallen on deaf ears.
In 2008, International governing body FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) funded a research project looking at whether lower limb injuries could be prevented through the implementation of a structured warm up routine – The FIFA 11+. The results were astounding.
The study was huge, performed on almost 2500 Norweigan amateur female football players between 13 and 17 years old.
Almost 1900 players were part of the intervention group, and 600 in the control group which performed warm up as usual. The intervention involved participating in a comprehensive warm-up programme to improve strength, awareness, and neuromuscular control during static and dynamic movements. The program was performed during one season, and injuries were tracked throughout.
When performed only twice a week, the intervention group had 37% less injuries at training, and 29% fewer match injuries. Severe injuries (at least 28 days to return to play) reduced by almost 50%, the incidence of acute, overuse, ankle and knee injuries also reduced significantly (see Table below).
This is a scientifically proven, injury prevention warm up program that has been designed to be easily implemented by coaches.
FIFA have kindly attributed a website to the FIFA 11+ program, with all relevant resources(research articles, posters, manuals) to be found there.