Background Education of soccer players is important in injury prevention and maintaining health throughout their career. Injury epidemiological studies have highlighted risk around knee and ankle. Aetiological factors include direct trauma, biomechanical imbalances, poor mobility, strength imbalances and training load.
Objective To monitor individual player specific physical range of movement scores to inform and educate players around self-management, readiness to train and injury risk.
Design Prospective observational study.
Setting Scotland women's soccer national squad.
Participants Elite women international soccer players.
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) Players were assessed each morning during international team camps for a range of objective physical markers.
Main Outcome Measurements Sit and reach distance, Knee to wall distance, Thomas test hip range of movement. Average scores were used to educate players and individually tasked with completing specific self-management modalities to improve these scores before entering a risk environment.
Results 28 players completed the self-directed objective tests. The physical markers were averaged out and players given individual red, amber and green scores. The markers were discussed amongst the sports medicine team and concerns regarding a player's health and fitness relayed to the coaching staff. The player was tasked with completing self-directed individualised exercises to improve any flagged scores. They were also tasked with completing this in their club environment and improvement in physical markers scores was noted on subsequent camp entries.
Conclusions Using specific physical markers individual to each player we were able to track and inform of any flagged scores during the health check. This enabled us to give a clear understanding of player readiness to train as well as informing and educating the player on how they could improve their scores through self-management modalities therefore decreasing injury risk. Initial findings through injury surveillance suggest a decrease in lower limb muscle related injuries.
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