DECISION MAKING IN THE RETURN TO PLAY AND PREVENTION STRATEGIES – ANALYSIS OF ELITE FOOTBALL PLAYERS AND TEAM COACHE` VIEW

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Abstract

Background

Football injuries are a common problem for players, coaches and clubs. To improve prevention strategies, the player and coach view needs to be known.

Objective

The aim of the study was to reveal current views about injuries prevention strategies in football.

Design

Retrospective cohort study in elite football level.

Setting

The elite football level of salaried football players (n=486) and team coaches (n=88) were investigated.

Participants

Team coaches (c) and male football players (p) of all age levels of the 4th until 6th division in German football were included.

Interventions

One questionnaire at the beginning of a football season was completed in the context of an intervention study regarding injury prevention in elite football.

Main Outcome Measurements

Investigated topics were points view about influencing factors on injuries, screening tests, injury profile and return to play decision-making.

Results

Physiotherapy (p:77.8%; c:75.9%) and screening examinations (p: 56.3%; c: 62.1%) were highest ranked as prevention strategy in football. The most important preventive training topics were warm up exercises (p: 76.1%; c: 74.7%), regeneration (p: 54.1%; c: 56.3%) and core stability (p: 53.8; c: 70.1%), while practical transfer to the field was low for core stability (p: 27.5%; c: 32.1%) and balancing exercises (p: 22.0; c: 19.8%). Knee injuries (p: 90.7%; c: 93.1%) were reported as the most common problem in football. Decision-making for return to play after injuries presented players with own will for a decision-making (81.4%) and the team coaches with the opinion that doctors are main decision maker (83.5%). Thus, decisions against doctors' recommendation in the past were frequently made among participants (p: 64.4%; c: 87.1%).

Conclusions

The basic knowledge about prevention of injuries in elite football is sufficient, while practical implementation is insufficient.

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