Preseason Warm-Ups Cut Soccer Groin Injuries

Program led to a third fewer such problems, researchers say

THURSDAY, July 12, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- A special 20-minute warm up done two to three times a week during preseason can cut soccer players' groin injuries by nearly a third, researchers report.

Groin injuries, which include injuries ranging from minor strains to hernias that need surgery, make up five percent of all sports injuries.

"Our 28 percent injury reduction rate is highly significant," principal investigator Dr. Michael B. Gerhardt, director of the Center for Athletic Hip and Groin Disorders in Santa Monica, Calif., said in a prepared statement.

Gerhardt is also team physician for US Soccer and Chivas USA, a major league soccer team. "We were anticipating a five to 10 percent reduction rate, so we were pleasantly surprised that the injury reduction number was so high," he said.

The exercises included warm-up, dynamic stretching and strengthening moves. The researchers enrolled 315 major league soccer players in the prevention program.

Athletes in the program had a groin injury incidence of 0.44 injuries per 1,000 hours, compared to 0.61 injuries per 1,000 hours among players who did not participate in the preseason prevention program.

"While we were able to prevent the total number of groin injuries, we were unable to significantly reduce the number of surgeries," Gerhardt noted. "Once an injury reaches the chronic stage, it is hard to manage with any treatment regimen, including ours. These players typically go on to require surgery."

Groin injury is a leading cause of lost playing time among professional athletes. Gerhardt and his study team argue that a simple, cost-effective preseason training program could benefit teams worldwide.

The data was expected to be presented Thursday at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

More information

For information about groin injuries, visit the American Academy of Family Physicians.

SOURCE: American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, news release, July 12, 2007
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