The popularity of female soccer has increased dramatically worldwide during the last decades, and in 2005 25% of the players in the Norwegian Football Association (NFF) were female. Epidemiologic studies among Norwegian and Swedish female elite and amateur players have shown that female players sustain as many injuries as male. In addition to hamstrings, groin and ankle injuries, serious knee injuries, such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, are a particular concern in female soccer. However, a study with a sufficient number of players has not yet been carried out. Thus, predicting the injury rate among junior players is difficult.
F-MARC 11 is a specific warm-up program that has recently been designed by an expert group within F-MARC (FIFA Medical Assessment Research Center) in order to prevent the four most common types of injuries in soccer, i.e. injuries to the ankles, knees, groin and hamstrings respectively. The program includes 10 exercises. It is time-efficient, requires little equipment, and it is easy to carry out regardless of age and skill level. The program is designed to be a part of the warm-up period at each training session, and includes stabilization exercises for abdomen, back and hip, strength training for thigh and hamstrings muscles, and also varying balance and jumping exercises.
This study will provide us with detailed information on the injury panorama in this group of young female soccer players, and answer the question whether we can reduce the risk for common and serious injuries in soccer.
Aim: To investigate the effect of the “11”, used as a warm-up program, on injury risk in female youth football.
Study design: Randomized controlled trial.
Methods: Teams were randomly assigned to an intervention (n=59 teams, 1091 players) or a control group (n=54 teams, 1001 players). The intervention group was asked to use the 11”, exercises for core stability, lower extremity strength, neuromuscular control and agility, as a 15-min warm-up program for football training over an eight month season.