We are proud to have been involved in this one. The age-specific warm-up program “11+ Kids” has been tested regarding its potential to reduce football (soccer) injuries in children. In total, 243 teams with around 3900 young football players from Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, and Czech Republic took part in this study. Together with our International colleagues we found considerable protective benefits for overall injuries (48% reduction), severe injuries (74% reduction) and lower extremity injuries (55% reduction). Importantly, injury incidence decreased with increasing compliance.
Children’s football teams (under 9 years, under 11 years, and under 13 years age groups) were invited to take part in the study. Clubs were randomised to an intervention group and a control group, and followed for one season. The intervention group replaced their usual warm-up by ‘11+ Kids’, while the control group warmed up as usual. The primary outcome was the overall risk of football-related injuries. Secondary outcomes were the risks of severe and lower extremity injuries. The authors calculated hazard ratios using extended Cox models, and performed a compliance analysis.
In total, 292,749 h of football exposure of 3895 players were recorded. The mean age of players was 10.8 (standard deviation 1.4) years. During the study period, 374 (intervention group = 139; control group = 235) injuries occurred. The overall injury rate in the intervention group was reduced by 48% compared with the control group (hazard ratio 0.52; 95% confidence interval 0.32–0.86). Severe (74% reduction, hazard ratio 0.26; 95% confidence interval 0.10–0.64) and lower extremity injuries (55% reduction, hazard ratio 0.45; 95% confidence interval 0.24–0.84) were also reduced. Injury incidence decreased with increasing compliance.
‘11+ Kids’ is efficacious in reducing injuries in children’s football. Considerable effects for overall, severe and lower extremity injuries have been observed. The programme should be performed at least once per week to profit from an injury preventive effect. However, two sessions per week are recommended by the authors to further increase the protective benefit.
Rössler, R., Junge, A., Bizzini, M., Verhagen, E., Chomiak, J., aus der Fünten, K., . . . Faude, O. (2017). A Multinational Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial to Assess the Efficacy of ‘11+ Kids’: A Warm-Up Programme to Prevent Injuries in Children’s Football. Sports Medicine. doi: 10.1007/s40279-017-0834-8