Prevention of Soccer-Related Ankle Injuries in Youth Amateur Players: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Ahmed Fadhil Farhan, Maria J. Stephany, Shamil K. Mahammed


Background: In lower levels of play, the lateral ankle sprain is the most common time loss injury, especially amongst male youth soccer players.

Purpose: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of an injury prevention program on the incidence of ankle injuries in male youth amateur players.

Study Design: Randomized controlled trial study.

Methods: Fifty boys (mean ±SD: age 13.3±0.4 yr; body mass index of 20.9 ± 1.5 kg/m2; stature: 1.6 ± 0.1 m) from two sport schools, with 4.4 ± 0.5 years playing experience, participated. Players were randomly assigned to either an experimental (EXP, n = 25) or a control (CON, n = 25) group. A physical exercise program designed exclusively for youth male soccer players was combined with education of athletes and coaches to increase awareness of injury risk. Over 1 year all injuries were documented monthly by physiotherapist. Complete monthly injury reports were available for 50 players.

Results: Nine ankle injuries occurred in the EXP group and 20 injuries occurred in the CON group, corresponding to incidence rates of 0.96 and 2.16, respectively, per 1000 player hours, which equates to 55% fewer injuries in the EXP group.

Conclusions: The incidence of ankle injuries among youth male soccer players can be reduced by implementation of a multifaceted, soccer-specific physical exercise program. Coaches and players need better education regarding injury prevention strategies and should include such interventions as part of their regular training.


ankle injuries,injury risk,physical exercise, soccer players

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