Prevention pays off in girls who play soccer

March 2, 2010

For girls who play soccer, participation in a multifaceted injury prevention program that combines education, proper motion patterns, strength, and balance may reduce the incidence of acute knee injuries significantly. It also may lessen the severity of injuries that do occur.

For girls who play soccer, participation in a multifaceted injury prevention program that combines education, proper motion patterns, strength, and balance may reduce the incidence of acute knee injuries significantly. It also may lessen the severity of injuries that do occur.

Working with teens from 97 Swedish soccer teams, Kiani and colleagues tested an intervention program specifically designed to increase awareness of injury risk, maximize adherence, and implement knee-strengthening exercises aimed at promoting healthy motion patterns. A total of 48 teams (777 girls) practiced the intervention, and 49 teams (729 girls) were controls. New acute knee injuries served as the primary outcome measure.

Adherence was high among the participating teams, and the effort paid off. Participants sustained only 3 knee injuries, compared with 13 injuries among the controls. The test group girls were playing after
6 months; most injuries in the control group were severe. The incidence of knee injuries and of noncontact knee injuries declined by 77% and 90%, respectively. No player in the test group sustained damage to an anterior cruciate ligament.

The authors noted that the high adherence rate in their study suggests that the program is easy to implement and incorporate into regular soccer practice.