The coach is a key figure when it comes to implementing injury prevention practices and managing player workload. This study from the CJSM illustrates how coach turnover can negatively influence injury risk among professional players1.
Muscle injuries are common in professional footballers, and account for a significant amount of lost playing time and therefore financial loss. It is important for trainers and medical teams to assess and mitigate (where possible) factors that increase the likelihood of injury to keep their teams and individuals functioning at full capacity. This original research collected muscle injury data over three years from professional football players competing in the Turkish Super League. The incidence of injury per 1000 training or match hours was calculated. Muscle injury was confirmed by a clinical assessment and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The muscle injury rate was assessed at two weeks and thirty days after a coach left the team.
This study showed that as coaches were dismissed over the three-year study period, there was a significant (2.3x greater) risk of muscle injury in the two weeks after dismissal, and a 1.9x greater risk at one month after dismissal. There are likely to be a number of reasons for this increased risk of injury. When a new coach is appointed into a team, they often bring a significant change in training regime and training intensity. Equally players are generally keen to impress their new coach and will extend their abilities during the settling in period. This acute increase in workload may explain the change in injury rates.
The results of this study further illustrate the importance of the coach in the health and wellbeing of the playing group. This study may help increase the awareness of the need to maintain consistency of training regimes, and communication amongst trainers, medical teams and coaches when there is change within a club.
1.Donmez G, Kudas S, Yörübulut M et al. Evaluation of Muscle Injuries in Professional Football Players: Does Coach Replacement Affect the Injury Rate? CJSM 2018: Publish ahead of print. DOI: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000640