Muscle fatigue can impair a players response to dynamic disturbances in balance, placing them at risk of injury

The majority of football injuries occur in the last 15 minutes of each half, strongly implicating fatigue as a causative factor in football related injuries. The potential mechanisms for this increased risk of injury have not been well established. This study investigated the effects of football-simulated fatigue on neuromuscular function and dynamic balance response1.

Fifteen male players completed approximately 90 minutes of exercise using the modified Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test, a test designed to replication the rigors of a football match, or seated rest (control condition) on separate days. Maximal and explosive isometric knee flexion (KF) and knee extension (KE) voluntary torque were assessed pre-and post each activity. Maximal and explosive KF/KE ratios were then calculated. Centre of mass (COM) response to unexpected anterior and posterior platform perturbations of balance were also assessed pre-and post-condition.

Football-simulated fatigue resulted in reduced knee flexion (15%) and knee extension (12%) maximal torque, but was not found to reduce explosive torque of either muscle group, nor explosive knee flexion to knee extension ratio. Football-simulated fatigue resulted in impaired balance response (11% increase in COM displacement) to unexpected perturbation in the posterior but not the anterior direction.

It seems likely that impaired balance (as well as absolute muscle strength), may be contributory factors toward increased injury risk in the latter portion of football games. These findings likely highlight the influence of fatigue on sensory and proprioceptive processes and may encourage football clinicians to improve proprioceptive processes in a fatigued state for injury prevention.

Thanks to the team at ASPETAR, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, for providing this FastFact. ASPETAR is a FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence based in Doha.

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

1Behan, F.P., Wills, S., Pain, M.T., Folland, J.P. (2018). Effects of football simulated fatigue on neuromuscular function and whole-body response to disturbances in balance. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. 28(12):2547-2557. DOI: 10.1111/sms.13261.


2 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
Bangoura Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Les études nous indiquent que certaines blessures musculaires surviennent 15mn avant les mi temps. La fatigue le maître mot mais aussi une forte accumulation de l acide lactique. La perturbation au niveau des électrolyte mais aussi un déficit neuro MUSCULAIRE. Par exemple quand nous jouons dans les régions froides un très bon massage préparatoire à l effort est obligatoire et le travail du préparateur physique doit ère exceptionnel. Par contre quand nous jouons dans les régions chaudes avec l hypersudation entraînant une déshydratation les facteurs de lésions musculaires sont aussi fréquents. Le sportif doit boire sans soif. Au delà des… Read more »


HORIZONTAL BIPARTITE PATELLA L os BIPARTITE est un os compose de 2 os au lieu d un seul. C est une pathologie rare. A la naissance la rotule est composée de cartilage et de vaisseaux sanguins. Au fur et à mesure qu’ on grandit le cartilage se dilate et devient un os. La rotule BIPARTITE est assyptomatique. Mais c est au cours d un trauma du GENOU en réalisant l IRM ou la radio NUMÉRISÉE qu’ on se rend compte de la présence d une rotule BIPARTITE simulant une fracture de la rotule. Mais la BIPARTITE n a pas de… Read more »