Can an injury prevention programme work in community futsal ?

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This week’s FastFact highlights research that has evaluated a short neuromuscular warm up in a community futsal setting.1 Compared with other similar research the warm up was substantially shorter, was delivered to players prior to games only and involved teams and players who generally lacked a coach or formal support staff.

The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a short, futsal-specific warm up on reducing injuries in community futsal. A total of 878 teams (intervention group, n=458; control group, n=420) of both male and female players and across three age groups (U13, U17, adults) were included in the study. Teams played in either an intervention or control site based on geographical location. The incidence rate and severity of all injuries, lower extremity (LE) injuries and contact injuries were evaluated using a novel report card that was completed by the teams in association with referees. There was a statistically significant reduction in the risk of contact injuries in the intervention group. The rate of all injuries was lower in the intervention group (rate ratio (RR) = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.59 to 1.06) however this was not statistically significant. When compliance was factored in (self-rated as being low, intermediate, high) a lower rate of all injuries (RR = 0.52, 95% CI = 0.29 to 0.97), and LE injuries (RR = 0.32, 95% CI = 0.14 to 0.81) in the high compared to low adherence group was seen. In the high-compliance group the rate of overall injuries was reduced by one third while the rate of lower extremity injuries was reduced by approximately two thirds. It should be noted that to be included in the ‘high adherence’ group teams only had to complete the warm-up 15-20 times preseason.

There are several interesting things about the study protocol that are worth highlighting. Firstly, the warm up programme was developed with input from players, coaches and medical professionals (rather than solely medical professionals), was very short (taking less than five minutes to complete) and was designed to be done in a small area. These features mean that it may be easier to foster compliance.

There are a number of methodological considerations that should be considered when interpreting the results of this study including the self-reporting of injury incidence, allocation of intervention based on the site where each team played and a lack of blinding. These have all been well articulated by the study’s authors. What is encouraging is the reduction in injury risk with a very short, player-led intervention.

To learn more about injury prevention please complete the “Injury Prevention” module in the FIFA Diploma in Football Medicine.

1. Tomsovsky L, Reid D, Whatman C et al. The effect of a neuromuscular warm-up on the injury rates in New Zealand amateur futsal players. Phys Ther Sport. 2021 Mar;48:128-135. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2020.12.015. Epub 2021 Jan 6. PMID: 33422887 .

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Dr Steven Griffith
04 March 2021 22:29

I doubt warm up could be heralded ‘injury prevention’, it’s so old going back thru each decade, century, BC. And if your old enough you will recall that playing cold was much worse than playing warm. My thoughts and feelings go to the players who got injured in these studies in the control, not warming up, and are now injured. We call it “holding back a player”. It’s a trick used in old times to knock some sense into a disruptive player by a manager or owner, send them out cold on a ‘hot player’. I have been both types… Read more »

05 March 2021 9:41


Jean d'Amour NIYONKURU
27 March 2021 11:21

I strongly agree that doing warm effectively would play big role in injury prevention in futsal football as well