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.
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 .