Exercise‐based strategies to prevent muscle injury in male elite footballers: an expert‐led Delphi survey of 21 practitioners belonging to 18 teams from the Big‐5 European leagues

Review written by Dr Travis Pollen info

Key Points

  1. Due to a paucity of high-quality, population-specific research, the purpose of this study was to synthesize expert opinion on the best exercise-based strategies for muscle injury prevention in elite male football (soccer).
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Muscle injury prevention is an elusive goal in elite male football (soccer). The gold standard for designing an injury prevention program is high-quality and population-specific evidence combined with practical experience. Unfortunately for practitioners in elite male football, most muscle injury prevention research is either at high risk of bias (1) or not population specific.

For example, the Nordic hamstring exercise has been shown to halve hamstring strain injuries (2). But that systematic review was based on a mix of sports, levels, ages, and genders. Therefore, practitioners must be careful generalizing that finding to any one sport. In the absence of high-quality evidence, we look to expert opinion. The purpose of this study was to synthesize expert opinion on exercise-based strategies for muscle injury prevention in elite male football.

The Nordic hamstring exercise has been shown to halve hamstring strain injuries.
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Sprinting can be viewed as a “vaccine” for hamstring injury.

METHODS

The researchers used a Delphi survey, an iterative qualitative technique to determine consensus practice, for muscle injury prevention in elite male football. 21 practitioners responsible for their team’s injury prevention program comprised the expert panel. They had on average 12

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