Preventing lower limb injuries: Is the latest evidence being translated into the football field?
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There is accumulating international evidence that lower limb injuries in sport can be prevented through targeted training but the extent to which this knowledge has been translated to real-world sporting practice is not known. A semi-structured questionnaire of all coaches from the nine Sydney Australian Football League Premier Division teams was conducted. Information was sought about their knowledge and behaviours in relation to delivering training programs, including their uptake of the latest scientific evidence for injury prevention. Direct observation of a sample of the coach-delivered training sessions was also undertaken to validate the questionnaire. Coaches ranked training session elements directly related to the game as being of most importance. They strongly favoured warming-up and cooling-down as injury prevention measures but changing direction and side-stepping training was considered to be of little/no importance for safety. Only one-third believed that balance training had some importance for injury prevention, despite accumulating scientific evidence to the contrary. Drills, set play, ball handling and kicking skills were all considered to be of least importance to injury prevention. These views were consistent with the content of the observed coach-led training sessions. In conclusion, current football training sessions do not give adequate attention to the development of skills most likely to reduce the risk of lower limb injury in players. There is a need to improve the translation of the latest scientific evidence about effective injury prevention into coaching practices.
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport