FIFA 11 - The Fair Play Injury Prevention Programme Soccer Needs

Dr. Rahul Bade,  Founder, Sparsh Hospital & KNEE-O FoundationDr. Rahul is a dynamic Orthopedics Surgeon with vast experience in the fields of Orthopaedics, Trauma, Sports Injuries, Arthroscopy, Joint Preservation Techniques, and Ligament Reconstructions.

Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester United ­ there is a negligible chance that you do not immediately associate with these names. Even if you are not an ardent follower, these names would have surely caught your attention sometime or the other. There is no doubt that soccer is definitely the most popular sport globally. Today, there are nearly 400 million players who are spread over 208 countries. Even monetarily, soccer generates a handsome Rs.1 trillion per year. The monetary aspect for the medical industry takes a backseat when the statistics of injuries caused by this contact sport crop-up. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the sport, it is tough to hold a certain demographic in being prone to get injured. Every player is equally at risk of getting injured while aiming for the win!

The Need for Injury Prevention
Soccer is a team sport. Each player contributes to the victory. Due to injuries, the soccer industry faces large financial losses, while the team performance also decreases drastically. This is valid for both amateur as well as professional level players. Certain studies show that most injuries are caused during the first and the last fifteen minutes of a soccer game. This increases the need for the right warm-up regime and also reflects the potential effect of fatigue on the players.

Biological Factors
Epidemiological studies categorize the severity of injury based on the inactivity period of the player. This is categorized as minimal inactivity period which is 1-3 days, medium which is 4-7 days and moderate which is nearly 8-28 days. There are cases where the players have been inactive for over 28 days. Studies also show that most injuries are seen in lower limbs, especially near the ankle, thigh, and knees. These injuries are categorized as non-contact. However, contact injuries include stains, sprains, and even contusions. The main reason for this is inappropriate muscle fatigue, muscle imbalance, and inadequate warm-up. These factors warrant a proper injury programme to be in place.

An Overview of FIFA 11
To combat the aforementioned factors, a prevention regime was curated in the year 2006. This was
done under the guidance of FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre which collaborated with the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre as well as the Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center to cover all the bases significantly.

This program entails a certain set of exercises which has a warm-up procedure in place. With matter available online, even a soccer aspirant can undertake this for better postural alignment and lesser chances of falling prey to injuries. With proper compliance of nearly 2-3 weeks, a programme like this can definitely prove to be effective. A period of at least 10-12 weeks is required to obtain results. Here is looking at the exercises which make-up this coveted regime so popular.

Certain studies show that most injuries are caused during the first and the last fifteen minutes of a soccer game

Exercises in the Sequence
The exercises of this program are designed with certain training methods. They aim at eccentric training of the thigh muscles, core stabilization and proprioceptive training. Additionally, plyometrics play a huge role in aiming a straight leg alignment. It is helpful in developing muscle power ­ something that most soccer players need. Here are the exercises included in this program:

1. The Bench
A popular core exercise, this is more or less like a plan. The muscle group worked on in this exercise regime is arms, stomach, hips and knees, providing the essential holistic lower body strengthening.

2. Sideways Bench
This is another exercise which involves your shoulders and elbows in addition to the core muscle group which strengthens with a bench. Adequate repetition of this exercise is helpful in keeping the side torso injury-free and falling prey to contact mishaps.

3. Hamstrings
Since football involves a lot of running (even for the goalkeepers during training sessions), one's calf muscles and hamstrings have to be really strong. A painful hamstring can completely throw a player off their game. This exercise requires support from a partner and involves the strengthening of your lower legs and knees.

4. Cross Country Skiing
Cross country skiing is an amalgamation of movements of both arms and legs. Much like the term suggests, this exercise provides a balance between the arm and the legs. It can strengthen both and is as such an ideal way to keep the muscles of both upper body and lower body strong.

5. Chest Passing in Single Leg Stance
This exercise adds throw to football. It is an exercise involving two players who have to throw a ball back and forth while switching on the ball of their feet. It also helps in increasing agility. The faster the ball is thrown, the more the effect is seen.

6. Forward Bend in Single Leg Stance
Soccer players are very well aware of bends and squatting positions. This warm-up exercise aims at toning the calf muscles further and providing it the required balance.

While the aforementioned exercises aim at working for certain muscle groups, they are not it. The other exercises included in this regime are ­ The Figure of Eight in Single Leg Stance, Jumps over a Line, Zigzag Shuffle, Bounding and Fair Play, amongst other important warm-up exercises. All of these put together give the body a complete warm-up and reduces the risk of falling prey to injuries drastically.