Injury Prevention for Football Players
Given the prevalence of injury in the sport, understanding the steps that can be taken to prevent injury is of the utmost importance.
A warm-up is a vital part of injury prevention in any sport, but is especially important when the sport involves so many high-intensity sudden start-stop movements. A warm-up should increase the player's heart rate in order to increase blood flow to all parts of the body; it should also stretch the muscles slightly to ensure that they are neither cold nor inflexible when intense movements begin. Ideally, a warm-up consists of 5 minutes of cardio activity such as jogging, cycling, or other high-heart rate activities. This should be followed by stretching. Today, most physiotherapists recommend dynamic stretching which involves high-intensively movement combined with stretching, to more closely resemble movements made in sports. This sort of stretching involves drills like running with high knees, heels to bum and cariocas.
Given the prevalence of tackle in football and other high-contact activity, proper protection and gear is highly important. High quality helmets, shoulder, thigh, and knee pads, gloves, mouth guards and everything else will help decrease the change for injury during a game or practice.
Although often disregarded by amateur athletes, rest is an important part of any training program. During play, football player's bodies need rest to recuperate from the damage done to cardiovascular, respiratory, and muscular systems. Generally over-training and a lack of adequate rest between training sessions, results in poor technique and overuse injuries.
Highly-trained athletes rely as much on their physical training as they do on proper nutrition and hydration. Without a good diet, specifically fit to your training needs, you'll find your muscles depleted, unable to fully recover after training, and prone to injury. Dehydration prevents adequate blood flow to your muscles and, likewise, makes you prone to injury.