Injury-prevention efforts in football have dated back to the early 1980s, when Dr Jan Ekstrand and colleagues performed the first RCT study looking at injury prevention in football. 2 Since that time, researchers around the globe have attempted to design sport-specific programmes that would endeavour to decrease injuries sustained at high rates. Many of these programmes have proven to successfully and statistically reduce the rate of injury in male and female athletes. In the past two decades, many injury-prevention efforts were focused solely on female athletes; namely on ACL injury prevention. 3-9 Recent publications have focused on the injury mechanisms related to the male football player, but most of the injury-prevention interventions have focused primarily on women and girls. 8,10-14
As you will see, there are a variety of interventions that have been proposed as good injury-prevention strategies. Unfortunately, not all of these have proven to be effective, despite their popularity. When deciding on an injury-prevention strategy for the players and teams you look after, you should be sure that it is effective. In order to do this, we need to understand the extent of the injury, understand how it occurs and develop an injury-prevention strategy. Once this has been done, it is possible to assess the intervention’s effectiveness. The table below shows a conceptual model for prevention of sports injuries.