Doctor’s advice football players to join injury prevention programmes

The FIFA fever is at its peak in the UAE much like around the world. Due to the ongoing football world cup, players around the world are participating in various football tournaments and games. Doctors are advising players to take precautionary measures to avoid serious injuries.  According to a report, 80% of injuries occur in players under the age of 24 and 44% of injuries occur in players under the age of 15.

“Injuries can have a significant physical, emotional, psychosocial and financial impact on both the individual and the team. Studies have found that sport-specific programmes that endeavor to decrease injuries sustained at high rates. Many of these programmes have proven to successfully and statistically reduce the rate of injury in male and female athletes”, said Dr. Amr Farag, Specialist Physical medicine and rehabilitation, Canadian Specialist Hospital.

The programs involve preventing injuries from occurring in those with no history of injury. Recent study showed that a multimodal warm-up programme can reduce the probability of sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. The injury occurs when the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is either stretched, partially torn, or completely torn. Statistics show that, injury rates in female players tend to be higher for ACL injuries and concussions.

Apart from warm-up exercises, strengthening programme is also recommended to prevent re-injury. Prevention strategies include different kinds of stretching activities, eccentric strength training, core stability, balance, strapping, bracing and combinations of these.

FIFA has developed a prevention programme for both male and female players to reduce the risk of injury by 30%. Severe injuries, such as ACL are said to be reduced by 50%. A specific version for kids and referees has also been created. The programme takes twenty minutes to complete and is designed to be performed twice a week. The exercises are divided into 3 separate components that include running and various strength, plyometric and balance exercises.

Additionally, individualized programs are available for elite players that offers biomechanical motion analysis which provides information of how individuals perform football-related activities and may elucidate which motions apply adverse stress to the body and specific structures.

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Another factor that increases the risk of injuries are the external risk factors such as the playing surface. The type of grass has been implicated as a risk factor for ACL injury. Additionally, playing equipment such as the use of shin guards, appropriate boots and goalkeeping gloves all likely reduce the risk of injury. Mouth guards also clearly reduce the risk of dental and facial injury. Headgear, despite its increasing popularity, has not been shown to reduce the risk of concussion.

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