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Injury prevention warm up in young female soccer players

Summary of a cluster RCT testing the effectiveness of an injury prevention warm up for young female soccer players.

Who

1892 female soccer (football) players aged 15.4±0.7 (range 13-17) (Norway).

Intervention group
1055 female players
52 clubs
49,899 hours of play (16,057 hours of maches)
Control group
837 female players
41 clubs
45,428 hours of play (14,342 hours of maches)

Design

Cluster randomised controlled trial.

clusterall athletes from the same club

Intervention group

Warm up exercise programme in three parts:

  • running at slow speed, active stretching, controlled contact with partner
  • strength, balance, jumping
  • speed running, cutting, soccer-specific movements
  • before every training in the season (8 months)
  • running part before every match

Control group

  • trained as usual

Injury measures

  • lower limb injury - injury to the “foot, ankle, lower leg, knee, thigh, groin, hip”
  • any injury, knee injury, ankle injury as secondary measures

Main results

  • Out of 1892 players, 301 (16%) players sustained 376 injuries (intervention group: 161, control group: 215). 80% (299) of injuries were acute, 20% (77) were overuse injuries.
  • In training, injury incidence was 1.9 (±0.2) per 1000 hours, and in matches 8.1 (±0.5) per 1000 hours. Overall incidence was 3.9 (±0.2) per 1000 hours.
  • Number needed to treat varied from 15 to 63 players.
  • The most common acute injury types were sprains and strains. The most common overuse injuries were lower limb tendon pain, low back pain and anterior lower leg pain.
  • Intervention group had significantly lower risk of overall injuries (~30%), overuse injuries, and severe injuries (~50%).
  • Intervention group had significantly less players who had two or more injuries.
  • Risk of re-injury did not differ between groups.

Take home message

For a clinician
Young female soccer (football) players who performed this warm up had 30% lower risk of overall injury and 50% lower risk of severe injury than players training as usual.
For a parent
Young female soccer (football) players who performed this warm up had 30% lower risk of overall injury and 50% lower risk of severe injury than players training as usual.
For an athlete
If you are a young girl playing soccer (football), this warm up may reduce your risk of sustaining an overall and severe injury.

Original article

Soligard T, Myklebust G, Steffen K, Holme I, Silvers H, Bizzini M, Junge A, Dvorak J, Bahr R, Andersen TE. Comprehensive warm-up programme to prevent injuries in young female footballers: cluster randomised controlled trial. Bmj. 2008 Dec 10;337.

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