Background Athletes’ knowledge about sports injuries can influence the adoption of prevention strategies aimed at reducing the incidence of injuries.
Objective The aim of the study was to investigate the perceptions of U14 male soccer players about the strategies for the prevention of injuries.
Design Sports injury prevention strategies survey.
Setting Youth Portuguese male soccer players competing at the national or regional level.
Participants 263 U14 male soccer players volunteered and, written informed consent was obtained from the athletes and parents or guardians.
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) A questionnaire on sports injuries prevention strategies was completed by the U14 male players selected among the 22 Portuguese regional teams competing in the Inter-Associations Tournament.
Main Outcome Measurements Knowledge and beliefs of the players about the strategies for preventing soccer injuries which might be an important approach as a primary prevention measure.
Results The strategies believed to prevent injuries main reported were performing specific preparation exercises before training and games (83,3%), pre-season physical conditioning (73,4%), complementary soccer training physical conditioning (70%), and nutritional counselling (49,8%). The less reported strategies were being informed by physiotherapists about injury risks (49,4%), having more health professionals working with the team (41,8%); using protective equipment (33,5%), materials of better quality (25,1%), and material innovation (16,3%).
Conclusions A sample of U14 Portuguese male soccer players perceived the need to perform specific preparation exercises before training and games, as well as physical conditioning that complements soccer training, in the pre-season and during the season, as the main measures to prevent injuries in youth soccer. Evidence shows that the strategies identified by the athletes have a beneficial impact on injury prevention. Future studies should analyse the relationship between the incidence and mechanism of injury and preventive strategies in Portuguese youth soccer.
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