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Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries

Female athletes using special program saw all injuries cut by a third, researchers say

FRIDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A good warm-up program may dramatically reduce sports injuries, a new report says.

A study by the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences found that focusing on strength improvement, balance, core stability and muscular awareness cut injuries by a third among almost 1,900 teenage female football players; severe injuries fell by almost half.

The study is published online in BMJ.

Study participants either did traditional warm-up exercises or the "11+" program, which consists of slow and speed running, strength and balance improvement exercise, and movements that focus on core stability, hip control and knee alignment. The 11+ also emphasized the importance of internal muscular awareness.

The authors concluded by calling for the program to be implemented as a key element of coaching, education and training in football.

While the number of lower leg injuries between the groups were statistically similar, many fewer severe injuries, overuse injuries and overall injuries occurred in players in the 11+ group. The results might have been even more favorable but not all 11+ participants kept up with the program all season.

In an accompanying editorial, John Brooks, an injury expert for the Rugby Football Union, called for people to adopt a warm-up program like the 11+ regardless of what sport or levels they play at, citing the lower incidence of severe injuries.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about how to exercise successfully.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: BMJ, news release, Dec. 9, 2008

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