Curb soccer injuries by staying warmed up

March 21, 2013

Topic: soccer injury prevention

It may matter which shoes athletes wear on artificial turf

Soccer injury prevention has become a real focus for physicians and players alike, according to Orthopedics Today. Renowned athletes and doctors in 16 cities instated a new program to assist in preventing physical setbacks from soccer, specifically ACL injuries.

Addressing a long-withstanding issue
In years past, soccer-related injuries in children have been a problem. According to the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, in 2000, there were 2.36 soccer-related injuries for every 1,000 children. These were all instances that warranted emergency department visits.

According to a 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, sports injuries in children between the ages of 5 and 14 have actually gone down 12.4 percent in the U.S. over the past 10 years. Despite this, soccer and football injuries have increased during that time. This suggests that at a young age, soccer often leads to injuries. 

The FIFA 11+ program
In order to prevent injuries from occurring, the Sports Injury Prevention Program comes into play. The basis of this is that the FIFA 11+ program, a 20-minute regimen to be done at least twice a week, focuses on building the balance and strength helpful in preventing injuries. 

The program consists of running and plyometric exercises, as well as strength and balance training. The key, according to American soccer player Cobi Jones, is to get warmed up prior to play, Orthopedics Today reported. 

"... if you go through this process, you are properly warmed up, it helps you with your balance, helps you with your core strength - all these important parts to make sure you are preventing injuries," Jones told the news source. 

Especially in younger kids who are raring to start playing, taking the time to perform these sorts of warm-up activities beforehand can be difficult. Yet, having the discipline to do so is the key in preventing future injuries from occurring.

Other efforts for prevention
In addition to the FIFA 11+ program, other strides have been taken to prevent common sports injury. In 2010, the AAOS, along with several other health organizations, pushed forward the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's STOP Sports Injuries Campaign, which focuses on cutting down on the number of injuries, specifically in youths, from sports. 

 FIFA 11+ stems from the Prevent Injury Enhanced Performance Program, a regimen designed in lieu of a rise in ACL tears amongst female soccer players. PEP evolved into FIFA 11+ in order to broaden the scope of soccer injury prevention, focusing not merely on ACL injuries, but also on those of the knee and lower extremities. 

By implementing rather basic warm-up exercises that are not incredibly time-consuming, this new program is a simple step toward preventing injury in soccer. 

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