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Football fans – how to stay injury free


MONDAY, JULY 7, 2014

Football fans – how to stay injury free

Football fever is sweeping New Zealand and physiotherapists have some advice for fans who want to take up the sport and avoid injuries.

Physiotherapy New Zealand President Ian d'Young says he hopes the World Cup will spark an increase in local participation levels and encourage more people to be active.

"I have two pieces of advice for anyone dreaming of becoming the next Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. Do your preparation and build up slowly."

"The sports injuries that physios see are often the result of people doing too much too soon - pushing themselves too far. You need to build up a base level of fitness and increase things slowly."

“Remember that even top athletes have days off! Your body needs time to rest, recover and build strength.”

Physiotherapist Hamish Ashton has worked with several international football teams and says soft tissue injuries, such as hamstring strains, are common.

"A good warm up is essential and all new players should be aware of the FIFA 11+ programme. It's a warm up programme designed specifically for amateur players (14+) and studies have shown it can significantly reduce the risk of injuries."

Top injury prevention tips for the weekend footballer:

1. Preparation
Preparation is your new mantra! Get fit enough to play at the level you want, fatigue leads to poor decisions and, ultimately, injuries.

2. Warm up appropriately
Encourage your team to follow the FIFA 11+ warm up and conditioning program. Regular and consistent use has been shown to decrease injuries by 30-50%.

3. Warm down after the game
This doesn’t have to be long, it can just be a short jog or walk followed by some light stretches. Warming down helps your body recover from your efforts so you can do it all again next time.

4. Get niggles seen to
If you have any niggles see a sports physiotherapist and get them checked out. Getting on top of them early will mean more time on the field and less on the side line.

5. Don’t try to be a hero
If you do get injured then come off and get it seen to. Trying to carry on could make the injury worse, which will mean a longer recovery time for you.

For more information visit

# Notes to editors
Teams that performed the “FIFA 11+ at least twice a week had 30-50% fewer injured players.

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