Doctors are advising players to take precautionary measures to avoid serious injuries. According to industry reports, 80% of injuries occur in players under the age of 24 and 44% of injuries occur in players under the age of 15 – Dr. Amr Farag, Specialist Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at 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 program 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 program 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 program 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 program 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 offer bio-mechanical 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.
Another factor that increases the risk of injuries is 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.