Soccer, with its immense global following, captivates fans who go beyond knowing about tournaments and teams: they are attentive to each player’s injuries, aware of how these mishaps can alter the course of a match. In this blog, we will explore injuries in modern soccer and the fundamental role played by physiotherapy. This discipline not only intervenes in the recovery of athletes, but also becomes an essential pillar in preventing future injuries.
The reality of injuries in modern soccer
The recent article in Marca highlights a growing concern: the increase in injuries among elite footballers. This phenomenon goes beyond mere coincidence and leads us to reflect on the complexities and challenges facing athletes in today’s era. According to marca.com 12% of players will be unavailable to play due to injury.
The breakneck pace of modern sport
Modern soccer is a fast-paced spectacle, where the speed of the game has reached unprecedented levels. This drastic change not only demands more from players, but also places additional pressure on their bodies. From sudden sprints to abrupt changes of direction, explosive movements are commonplace on the playing field.
The need for muscular rest in the athlete
The arrival of matches that pit nations against each other puts an extra strain on players, who limit their rest time between club matches, national team games and training sessions. The qualification phase for the European Championship and the upcoming Olympic Games are revealing the requirement of a good muscular rest to avoid injuries and the great importance of having a team of physiotherapists to take care of the muscular health of athletes.
Often, the constant travel and schedule changes inherent to these competitions affect the hours of sleep of soccer players, directly impacting their recovery process and significantly increasing the likelihood of musculoskeletal injuries. Current top players such as Gavi, Vinicius, Haaland, Camavinga, Zaïre-Emery, Onana, Oyarzabal, Bastoni, Ter Stegen and Memo Ochoa have all suffered the consequences of these physical demands and the demands of the sporting calendar.
Anterior cruciate ligament: the most common injury
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is common in soccer players, not only limited to elite players, but affecting players of all levels. This type of injury is usually triggered by sudden movements, sudden changes of direction and impacts on the knee, frequent situations in sports such as soccer. Given its importance for knee stability, this injury can significantly affect a player’s participation in his or her sport.
Post ACL injury rehabilitation involves a multidisciplinary approach, encompassing physical therapy, strength and stability training, with some players opting for surgery to reconstruct the ligament. To prevent these injuries, teams and athletes implement prevention programs with specific exercises, muscle strengthening and landing techniques.
The role of physiotherapy
The essential role of physical therapy goes beyond recovery to encompass prevention and performance optimization. Physiotherapists design training programs to strengthen injury-prone areas and educate players on the importance of preventive care. Key aspects are highlighted here:
- Personalized rehabilitation: Physical therapists design rehabilitation programs tailored to each player’s specific injury, taking into account factors such as severity of injury and position on the field.
- Restoration of function: They focus on restoring strength, range of motion and stability to the affected knee, using specific exercises and manual therapies.
- Strengthening programs: physical therapists develop customized training programs to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee, especially quadriceps and hamstrings, to provide additional support to the joint.
- Stability training: Exercises that improve stability and proprioception are implemented, reducing the risk of sudden movements that could trigger re-injury.
- Landing techniques: For sports such as soccer that involve jumping and changes of direction, proper landing techniques are taught to learn how to manage the loads on the knee.
Education and awareness:
- Preventive counseling: Physical therapists educate soccer players on the importance of proper warm-up, rest, nutrition and other aspects that contribute to overall health and injury prevention.
- Ongoing monitoring: They keep constant track of the player’s physical condition, adjusting training programs as needed and providing guidance on workload management.
- Teamwork: They collaborate closely with physicians, trainers and other healthcare professionals to ensure a comprehensive approach to recovery and prevention.
- Technology integration: Incorporate advanced technologies, such as motion analysis and biomechanics, to further customize rehabilitation and prevention programs.
Despite the importance of adequate rest in injury recovery and prevention, players’ busy schedules, marked by tournaments, matches and constant travel, can make it difficult to comply.
The importance of technology in prevention
In addition, technology has become an invaluable ally. From performance monitoring devices to advanced biomechanical analysis, technology is redefining the way we approach injury prevention. Effective implementation of these tools can make the difference between a successful season and one plagued by injury.
In many instances, physical therapists are faced with the need to provide remote care to soccer players or work in collaboration with more than one professional to ensure effective recovery. In this sense, ReHub emerges as an effective solution by becoming an ideal communication channel for this task. Rehabilitation professionals not only have the ability to assign exercise routines and monitor the progress of athletes, but can also collaborate closely thanks to the “Share my patient” option. This functionality allows several professionals to work together to monitor and optimize an athlete’s performance, ensuring comprehensive and coordinated care.
At the crossroads between performance and health, physical therapy converges to provide comprehensive solutions. Injury prevention is not just a necessity; it is a smart strategy to ensure longevity and excellence in a soccer player’s career.Let’s move beyond injuries and build a future where soccer is synonymous with optimal health and performance!