What can we do to prevent injuries in soccer

In the previous discussion, we had a look at injury distribution in soccer players in relation to not just site but also age.

Today we take a similar cohort, but take a look at how effective screening and injury prevention programs are. Again, this was precipitated by a very recent paper, published just a couple of weeks ago, which may be read in its entirety here.

Entitled Injury prevention in male youth soccer: Current practices and perceptions of practitioners working at elite English academies, by Paul read from the giant sports medicine clinic in Doha, Qatar called Aspetar, it is published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, Volume 36, 2018 - Issue 12.

To some degree, this study asks the question, do screening protocols work, and, if not, what other strategies might we put in place to help with injury prevention?

The study is a qualitative research design, so, survey based, and certainly not the most rigorous form of investigation, but all the same, it proposes some interesting ideas.

Forty-one practitioners inclusive of physiotherapists, sports scientists and strength and conditioning coaches from the academies of elite soccer clubs in the United Kingdom completed an on-line questionnaire which examined their:

  1. background information;
  2. perceptions of injury occurrence and risk factors;
  3. screening and return to play; and
  4. approach to designing and delivering injury prevention programmes with a response rate of 55% (41/75).

Contact injuries were the most common mechanism reported and players between 13–16 years of age were perceived to be at the greatest risk. Pertinent risk factors included: reduced lower limb and eccentric hamstring strength, proprioception, muscle imbalances, and under developed foundational movement skills.

Simon Bartold
Director of Bartold Clinical