Injuries at the World Cup.

Injuries in Football

World Cup fever his well-and-truly hit our lives this summer. The ubiquitous coverage and updates of the international players litter our screens and newspapers. With these players putting their bodies on the line for their country, they can often sustain injuries limiting their participation in the latter stages of the contest.

In the last world cup, Brazil 2014, over 104 injuries were reported, equating to 1.68 per match (2) – but what is it exactly that causes these professional players to sustain injuries on the biggest stage in football? This blog will countdown the top factors in World Cup injuries, in the hopes that you can change your training load to prevent injuries of your own.

  1. Balance and Coordination Deficits

Studies shown unanimously that reduced balance and coordination are responsible for a huge numbers of injuries. Whether it’s landing awkwardly from an aerial contest, or rolling an ankle attempting to out-step your opponent, impaired balance can shatter world cup dreams.

Balance and coordination exercises can improve muscle-patterning while landing and sprinting; this can prevent the dreaded inversion injuries to the ankle or a ligament injury to a knee.

  1. Muscle Imbalances 

Muscles work in pairs, with one contracting as the other relaxes. If one muscle is excessively strong, it’s opposing muscle can have a hard job in dealing with the recoil to slow the limb. This is most frequently seen in Hamstring tears from a kicking action.

A hugely powerful contraction of the quad and hip flexors while striking a ball also requires the hamstrings to slow the flailing limb down while at full stretch. If the hamstrings are not strong enough to deal with these forces, the muscle will soon suffer.

Most joints do have a bias to one action compared to another, however they still need to be in appropriate strength brackets. By training the opposing muscle groups, you can prevent issues like this arising in your own training sessions.

  1. Accumulated Fatigue

An intense training load prior to the World Cup, a congested match schedule, and reduced recovery time is a recipe for disaster for Professional Footballers. This influx of training and game time, having just finished their own domestic seasons can put a phenomenal strain on the player’s bodies.

Physical and mental workloads while playing against international sides are often increased by a number of factors; these include frequently travelling longer durations, aclimitisation to different weather, limited recovery time, different coaching staff from domestic leagues.

Adequate rest is an absolute must for anyone performing regularly, and it’s no different if you’re training outside of a professional team.  Remember: Nutrition, Rest, Recovery.

  1. Previous Injury

Sporting injuries can linger around for longer than you would hope. Former injuries can always be considered a chink in your chain, and for football players, it’s no different. Research shows that the most influential cause of injuries is having a previous poorly rehabbed injury. Professional sportsmen and women always undergo prevention strategies, and are regularly monitored for injury risks, however these are seldom available to normal gym-goers.

The best way to reduce your risk of acquiring an injury, is to have a solid preventative exercise plan. Using a mix of training techniques, and recruiting muscles in both a concentric and eccentric means, have been proven to help reduce injury risk.

Conclusion

Exposure to high-intensity sports with insufficient rest for a prolonged period of time has a huge correlation to injures. You can combat this by having a suitable injury-avoidance exercise routine focusing on opposing muscle groups and balance/coordination improvement.