Thanks to the recent success of the Socceroo’s over the last decade, the emergence of youth soccer participation in Australia has increased significantly. In NSW alone, there are over 40,000 boys and girls in both primary and secondary schools who are involved in playing regular competition in outdoor football (soccer) and futsal. It is Australia’s most participated sport as a whole. With the increase in participants, there comes an increase in overall injuries due to the sport. Studies report injury statistics of up to 25% of participants will suffer an injury while playing, and the majority of injuries suffered happen at the knee.
One of the most debilitating injuries, which is unfortunately common, is a ruptured ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament). The ACL provides anterior-posterior (front to back) stability of the knee. The injury typically requires surgery to replace the ligament, followed by a structured rehabilitation phase with a physiotherapist for 6-12 months. Outcome and return to sport can vary depending on multiple factors including if there was damage to other structures in the knee and the participant’s age.
Now, don’t be hanging up your boots just yet in fear of getting injured. Sports Medicine experts in conjunction with FIFA (the international governing body of soccer) have developed, researched, and implemented an injury prevention program to be performed by soccer players prior to practices/competitions. Research has shown that with implementation of the FIFA 11+ warm-up program, significantly reduces the ACL injury rates among soccer players. Teams that performed the FIFA 11+ at least twice a week had 30-50% fewer injured players. It is now recommended that all players perform the dynamic warm-up before any practices/competitions.
The program involves plyometric exercises and drills that improve movement coordination, balance, and strength. This improves the brain-to-muscle (neuromuscular) connection enhancing the body’s ability to move safely and biomechanically correct. The exercises must be performed correctly and are best suited to be taught to participants by a trained Physiotherapist or well experienced coach or trainer. The exercises will enhance the player’s running, balance, strength, and plyometric abilities therefore decreasing their injury potential.
If you are interested in learning more about the FIFA 11+ please check out the website:
If you are interested in injury prevention or want to perform the exercises under the supervision of a trained Physiotherapist, please contact us at Your Health Domain. We will be happy to set up a session to teach you first hand the proper way to perform the FIFA 11+.