A survey in Norwegian 1st, 2nd and 3rd division of football (soccer) for men found that players with previous hamstring injury have twice as high risk of injury. Strain injury of the posterior thigh is an increasing problem in male football and can be prevented.
A total of 508 players representing 31 amateur teams were tested during the 2004 preseason for potential risk factors for hamstring injury through a questionnaire on previous injury, a muscle function score, a clinical examination, Nordic hamstring strength test, 40 meter sprint test and counter-movement jump test.
During the football season, a total of 76 hamstring injuries, affecting 65 legs (61 players), were registered.
Univariate analyses revealed previous acute hamstring injury (yes/no), hamstring function (HaOS) score with all subscores except ‘‘soreness’’, age and player position as candidate predictors of high injury risk.
In a multivariate analysis, the most important risk factor for injuries to the hamstring was previous acute hamstring injury (yes/no) (adjusted OR, 2.19; 95% CI, 1.19-4.03; P=.01).
Strain injuries of the posterior thigh are among the most common injuries in male football and account for 10-23% of all acute injuries.
Hamstrings injuries can be prevented
We suggest that players, especially those with previous injury, carry out eccentric strength training for the hamstring muscles in the pre-season to reduce risk of new strains.
Have a look at the “Nordic hamstring lowers” (videos in Norwegian) and download a brochure including a training protocol (in English).
The authors of this study were Anders Hauge Engebretsen, Grethe Myklebust, Ingar Holme, Lars Engebretsen and Roald Bahr.
Read the article from the American Journal of Sports Medicine here.