Avoiding Injuries In Football Training
Football players are always familiar with injuries. Both mild and severe, a soccer player is almost certain to have experienced an injury. In fact, it is not uncommon for a player to end his career early, due to an injury he has experienced. Especially if football is played at the highest level with high intensity and tempo. The risk of injury will certainly be greater. In the English Premiere League, which is known as the most violent league and often presents matches with high intensity, the injury rate in the 2018/2019 season, as reported by jlt.com, reached 764 cases, which is an increase of 15% from the 2017/2018 season.
In the jlt.com article it is said that Premier League clubs spent £221 million in the 2018/2019 season only for player injury treatment. Not only that, the club’s expenditure figures for paying injured players also increased by 86% compared to the previous season. In UEFA.com’s research for UEFA EURO 2016, it was explained that 87% of football player injury incidents occurred in the lower extremities (legs). Of these 87%, around 33% of cases of injury occurred to the lower extremities, attacking the players’ thighs.
Still based on UEFA.com data, muscle injuries are still a big problem for soccer players with an incidence rate of up to 55% of total injuries at UEFA EURO 2016. Ironically, the number of muscle injuries continues to increase at every EURO event. Muscles and bones are the two parts of the body that play the most roles when humans move. For soccer players, the thigh muscles play an important role during 90 minutes of play. This is what makes thigh muscle injuries the most common injuries.
Let’s understand more deeply the components that exist in the thigh. In orthoinfo.aaos.org it is explained that the thigh has 3 large muscle groups namely Hamstring (back of thigh), Quadriceps (front of thigh), and adductor muscles on the inside. The hamstrings and quadriceps are muscle groups that are often injured because they are needed to facilitate high-intensity movements such as running, jumping and changing direction. In addition, these two muscle groups are also very vulnerable because they cross from the hip and knee joints.
Of the two thigh muscle groups above, the hamstring is the muscle most often injured. Howard J. Luks, MD, in his article on November 5 2016, said that cases of hamstring injuries are the most common cases in football with an incidence rate of up to 40%. Bernard Duvivier (et al, 2019) also explained research in the Australian League, where cases of hamstring injuries continued to increase by up to 71% from the 2003 to 2012 season.
Not only that, the average player must rest for at least 14 days if he has a hamstring injury and the average Australian league club has to spend around 250,000 Euros for treatment of a hamstring injury. From the 2016 UEFA EURO event, there were 3 players who had to give up their national team caps due to a hamstring injury which made cases of hamstring injuries the most common cases in the competition.
What should we do to solve this problem? According to Ross A Clark’s research (2008) it is said that there are several steps to prevent hamstring injuries. Increasing flexibility in the hamstring muscles can be used as an effort to reduce the risk of hamstring injuries. Lack of flexibility in the hamstring muscles and tendons results in a decreased ability of the muscles and tendons to contract quickly and forcefully, increasing the risk of injury. Improving spinal balance can also reduce the risk of hamstring injuries. When the body posture is not in ideal condition (too bending forward for example) it causes the hamstring to work very hard to produce force which will automatically increase the risk of injury to the hamstring itself.
Avoiding fatigue should also be a concern. When players have to fight in a position of fatigue, control over movement will certainly continue to decrease. The hamstring, which is one of the muscle groups that facilitates balance in the lower extremities, will certainly work twice as hard if players often lose control of their movements. To reduce the risk of injury, the athlete must ensure that the strength ratio between the hamstring and quadriceps is ideal. According to Ross A Clark (2008) it is said that the hamstring must at least be able to produce a force of >60% greater than the force that the quadriceps can produce to prevent hamstring injury.
Safety is the main thing in any case. Ensuring players are as far away from injury as possible must of course be an aspect that is prioritized by the players themselves, coaches, and of course the club.
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