Field hockey is a popular sport worldwide. However, it entails a risk of injury. Injuries hamper players’ participation in the sport and impose a burden on public health. Our latest study - just published in the Journal of Athletic Training - investigated the effectiveness of a structured exercise program among youth field hockey players on the injury rate, severity, and burden.
We conducted this quasi-experimental study, during 1 season of field hockey (October 2016 through June 2017). A convenience sample of 22 teams consisting of 291 players was followed during the season; 10 teams (135 players, mean age 11.5 years in an intervention group and 12 teams (156 players, mean age 12.9 years in a control group.
A sex- and age-specific, structured, evidence-informed warm-up program consisting of a preparation phase (ie, agility and cardiovascular warm-up exercises), movement skills (ie, stability and flexibility exercises), and sport-specific skills (ie, speed and strength exercises in field hockey situations). Participants in the control group performed their usual warm-up routines.
We assessed and compared between groups the injury rates (ie, the number of injuries per 1000 player-hours of field hockey exposure), injury severity (ie, days of player time-loss), and burden on athletes’ availability to play (ie, days of time loss due to injury per 1000 player-hours of field hockey exposure).
The injury rate was lower in the intervention group (hazard ratio of 0.64 [95% CI: 0.38, 1.07]); however, this result was not statistically significant. The severity of injuries was similar in both groups. The burden of injuries on players’ field hockey participation was lower in the intervention group (difference of 8.42 [95% CI: 4.37, 12.47] days lost per 1000 player-hours of field hockey).
Exposure to the Warming-up Hockey program was (not significantly) associated with a lower injury rate. No reduction was observed in the severity of injuries alone; however, the burden of injuries on players’ field hockey participation was lower in the intervention group.
Our take home points
Exposure to the Warming-up Hockey program was not significantly associated with a lower rate of overall injuries or injury severity. It was associated with lower rates of acute injuries and injuries leading to 1 to 3 days of time loss from field hockey.
The injury burden on field hockey athletes’ availability to play was lower in the group exposed to the Warming-up Hockey program.
Saulo Delfino Barboza, Joske Nauta, Carolyn Emery, Willem van Mechelen, Vincent Gouttebarge,
Evert Verhagen. A Warm-Up Program to Reduce Injuries in Youth Field Hockey Players: A Quasi-Experiment. Journal of Athletic Training 2019;54(4):374–383