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Effect of an Injury Prevention Program on Muscle Injuries in Elite Professional Soccer

Owen, Adam L.1,2; Wong, Del P.3; Dellal, Alexandre4,5,6; Paul, Darren J.7; Orhant, Emmanuel4; Collie, Stuart1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: December 2013 - Volume 27 - Issue 12 - p 3275–3285
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318290cb3a
Original Research

Abstract: Owen, AL, Wong, DP, Dellal, A, Paul, DJ, Orhant, E, and Collie, S. Effect of an injury prevention program on muscle injuries in elite professional soccer. J Strength Cond Res 27(12): 3275–3285, 2013—Due to the continual physical, physiological, and psychological demands of elite level soccer increasing the incidence and risk of injuries, preventative training programs have become a common feature of soccer players training schedule. The aim of the current investigation was to examine the effectiveness of a structured injury prevention program on the number of muscle injuries and the total number of injuries within elite professional soccer. The present study was conducted over 2 consecutive seasons, of which the first (2008–2009) being the intervention season and the second the control season (2009–2010). In total, 26 and 23 elite male professional soccer players competing within the Scottish Premier League and European competition participated. The training program was performed twice weekly for the entirety of the season (58 prevention sessions). The results revealed an increase in the total number of injuries within the intervention season (88 vs. 72); however, this was largely due to the greater number of contusion injuries sustained within the intervention season (n = 44) when compared with control season (n = 23). Significantly less muscle injuries were observed during the intervention season (moderate effect), and this occurred concomitant with a bigger squad size (large effect, p < 0.001). The findings from this study identify that a multicomponent injury prevention–training program may be appropriate for reducing the number of muscle injuries during a season but may not be adequate to reduce all other injuries.

1Sports Science Department, Rangers Football Club, Glasgow, Scotland;

2Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University, Center of Research and Innovation in Sport; University of Lyon, Villeurbanne, France;

3Human Performance Laboratory, Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEi), Hong Kong;

4FIFA Medical Excellence Center, Santy Orthopedic Clinical, Sport Science and Research Department, Lyon, France;

5OGC Nice, Fitness Training Department, Nice, France;

6Center of Research and Innovation in Sport (CRIS), University of Lyon 1, Lyon, France; and

7Sport Science Department, ASPETAR Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Hospital, Doha, Qatar

Address correspondence to Adam L. Owen,

Copyright © 2013 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.