Latest research in football - week 19 - 2014

Latest research in football

As previous literature updates, we have performed a PubCrawler search looking for football articles in NCBI Medline (PubMed) and GenBank databases.

Following studies were retrieved for this week:

#1 Efficacy of the FIFA 11+ Warm-Up Programme in Male Youth Football: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial
Reference: J Sports Sci Med. 2014 May 1;13(2):321-8. eCollection 2014.
Authors: Owoeye OB, Akinbo SR, Tella BA, Olawale OA
Summary: The FIFA 11+ is a structured warm-up programme specially designed to prevent injuries among football players from age 14 years and above. However, studies to prove its efficacy are generally few and it is yet to be tested in male youth footballers and among African players. The purpose of the study was to examine the efficacy of the FIFA 11+ programme in reducing the risk of injuries among male youth football players of the Lagos Junior League. A cluster randomised controlled trial was conducted. All the 20 teams (414 players aged 14 -19 years) in the Premier League division were block-randomised into either an intervention (INT) or a control (CON) group. The INT group performed the FIFA 11+ exercises as warm-up during training sessions and the CON group performed usual warm-up. Participating teams were prospectively followed through an entire league season of 6 months in which they were visited every week to assess injured players for time-loss injuries in both groups. The primary outcomes were any injury to the players, injuries by type of exposure and injuries specific to the lower extremities. The secondary outcomes were injuries reported by body location, aetiology, mechanism and severity. In total, 130 injuries were recorded affecting 104 (25%) of the 416 players. Team and player compliance with the INT was 60% and 74% respectively. Based on the primary outcome measures of the study, the FIFA 11+ programme significantly reduced the overall rate of injury in the INT group by 41% [RR = 0.59 (95% CI: 0.40 - 0.86; p = 0.006)] and all lower extremity injuries by 48% [RR = 0.52 (95% CI: 0.34 - 0.82; p = 0.004)]. However, the rate of injury reduction based on secondary outcomes mostly did not reach the level of statistical significance. The FIFA 11+ programme is effective in reducing the rates of injuries in male youth football players. Key pointsThe FIFA 11+ has only been tested in randomised controlled trials conducted on female youth football players; this study reports its efficacy in male youth football for the first timeThe FIFA 11+ programme significantly reduced the overall rate of injuries and lower extremity injuries in male youth football playersYouth football administrators in Africa and other parts of the world should pursue the implementation of the FIFA 11+ in order to minimize the incidence of injuries among players.

#2 Epidemiology of injuries in First Division Spanish football
Reference: J Sports Sci. 2014 May 1:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Noya Salces J, Gómez-Carmona PM, Gracia-Marco L, Moliner-Urdiales D, Sillero-Quintana M.
Summary: The aim was to examine the injuries sustained by Spanish football players in the First Division and to compare injury-related variables in the context of both competition and training. The injury data were prospectively collected from 16 teams (427 players) using a specific web-based survey during the 2008/2009 season. A total of 1293 injuries were identified (145 were recurring injuries). The overall injury incidence was 5.65 injuries per 1000 h of exposure. Injuries were much more common during competition than during training (43.53 vs. 3.55 injuries per 1000 h of exposure, P < 0.05). Most of the injuries (89.6%) involved the lower extremities, and overuse (65.7%) was the main cause. Muscle and tendon injuries were the most common types of injury (53.8%) among the players. The incidence of training injuries was greater during the pre-season and tended to decrease throughout the season, while the incidence of competition injuries increased throughout the season (all P < 0.05). In conclusion, the results of this study suggest the need for injury prevention protocols in the First Division of the Spanish Football League to reduce the number of overuse injuries in the muscles and tendons in the lower extremities. In addition, special attention should be paid during the pre-season and the competitive phase II (the last four months of the season) in order to prevent training and competition injuries, respectively.

#3 Match analysis in football: a systematic review
Reference: J Sports Sci. 2014 May 1:1-13. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Sarmento H, Marcelino R, Anguera MT, Campaniço J, Matos N, Leitão JC.
Summary: The main focus of this paper was to review the available literature on match analysis in adult male football. The most common research topics were identified, their methodologies described and the evolutionary tendencies of this research area systematised. A systematic review of Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) Web of Knowledge database was performed according to PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-analyses) guidelines. The following keywords were used: football and soccer, each one associated with the terms: match analysis, performance analysis, notational analysis, game analysis, tactical analysis and patterns of play. Of 2732 studies initially identified, only 53 were fully reviewed, and their outcome measures abstracted and analysed. Studies that fit all inclusion criteria were organised according to their research design as descriptive, comparative or predictive. Results showed that 10 studies focused predominantly on a description of technical, tactical and physical performance variables. From all comparative studies, the dependent variables more frequently used were "playing position" and "competitive level". Even though the literature stresses the importance of developing predictive models of sports performance, only few studies (n = 8) have focused on modelling football performance. Situational variables like game location, quality of opposing teams, match status and match half have been progressively included as object of research, since they seem to work as effective covariables of football performance. Taking into account the limitations of the reviewed studies, future research should provide comprehensive operational definitions for the studied variables, use standardised categories and description of activities and participants, and consider integrating the situational and interactional contexts into the analysis of football performance.

#4 Exploring athletic identity in elite-level English youth football: a cross-sectional approach
Reference: J Sports Sci. 2014 May 1:1-6. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Mitchell TO, Nesti M, Richardson D, Midgley AW, Eubank M, Littlewood M.
Summary: This study is the first empirical investigation that has explored levels of athletic identity in elite-level English professional football. The importance of understanding athletes' psychological well-being within professional sport has been well documented. This is especially important within the professional football industry, given the high attrition rate (Anderson, G., & Miller, R. M. (2011). The academy system in English professional football: Business value or following the herd? University of Liverpool, Management School Research Paper Series. Retrieved from ) and distinct occupational practices (Roderick, M. (2006). The work of professional football. A labour of love? London: Routledge). A total of 168 elite youth footballers from the English professional football leagues completed the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS). Multilevel modelling was used to examine the effect of playing level, living arrangements and year of apprentice on the total AIMS score and its subscales (i.e., social identity, exclusivity and negative affectivity). Football club explained 30% of the variance in exclusivity among players (P = .022). Mean social identity was significantly higher for those players in the first year of their apprenticeship compared to the second year (P = .025). All other effects were not statistically significant (P > .05). The novel and unique findings have practical implications in the design and implementation of career support strategies with respect to social identity. This may facilitate the maintenance of motivation over a 2-year apprenticeship and positively impact on performance levels within the professional football environment.

#5 Nutritional intake of elite football referees
Reference: J Sports Sci. 2014 May 1:1-7. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Teixeira VH, Gonçalves L, Meneses T, Moreira P.
Summary: There is a paucity of dietary data in football referees. In this study, 23 elite main and assistant referees (34.4 ± 5.6 years) completed a 7-day dietary record during the competitive season. No nutritional intake differences were observed between main and assistant referees. Referees' mean daily energy intake (DEI) was 2819 ± 279 kcal. The intake of proteins (1.7 ± 0.2 g · kg-1), carbohydrates (4.1 ± 0.8 g · kg-1) and fats (1.4 ± 0.2 g · kg-1) represented, respectively, 18.4 ± 1.5%, 44.4 ± 4.4% and 34.6 ± 4.1% of the DEI. Carbohydrate intakes before, during and after exercise were 66 ± 42, 7 ± 15 and 120 ± 62 g. Daily carbohydrate, fibre, polyunsaturated fat and water intakes were below recommendations, while fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium intakes were above recommended values. The prevalence of inadequate intake was high for vitamin E (96%), folate (74%), vitamin A (61%), vitamin C (39%), magnesium (26%) and calcium (22%). Carbohydrate intake before, during and after exercise were far from achieving the minimum recommended values. Most referees demonstrated a negligent behaviour of hydration during exercise. Referees would benefit from dietary education in order to optimise performance and health

#6 Return to play after acute infectious disease in football players
Reference: J Sports Sci. 2014 May 1:1-6. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Scharhag J1, Meyer T.
Summary: Acute infectious diseases are common in athletes and can impair their ability to train and to compete. Furthermore, continuing exercise during infectious diseases may lead to prolongation or aggravation of illness with severe acute or chronic organ manifestations. Therefore, even simple infectious diseases require a sufficient period of convalescence and recovery, during which exercise may be not allowed. Nowadays, especially in professional football with high pressures on players, staff and clubs due to broad public interests as well as financial constraints, the return-to-play decision is of utmost significance. Based on previous suggestions and our own experience within amateur and professional athletes and football players, this article aims to give a short overview on return-to-play decisions after common acute infectious diseases in football players

#7 The polygenic profile of Russian football players
Reference: J Sports Sci. 2014 May 1:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Egorova ES, Borisova AV, Mustafina LJ, Arkhipova AA, Gabbasov RT, Druzhevskaya AM, Astratenkova IV, Ahmetov II.
Summary: Research concerned with predictors of talent in football has highlighted a number of potentially important and partially inherited measures such as body size, anaerobic power, aerobic capacity, agility, psychological profile, game intelligence and susceptibility to injuries. Genotyping for performance-associated DNA polymorphisms at an early age could be useful in predicting later success in football. The aim of the study was to investigate individually and in combination the association of common gene polymorphisms with football player's status. A total of 246 Russian football players and 872 controls were genotyped for 8 gene polymorphisms, which were previously reported to be associated with athlete status. Four alleles (ACE D, ACTN3 Arg577, PPARA rs4253778 C and UCP2 55Val) were first identified, showing discrete associations with football player's status. Next, we determined the total genotype score (TGS, from the accumulated combination of the 4 polymorphisms, with a maximum value of 100 for the theoretically optimal polygenic score) in athletes and controls. The mean TGS was significantly higher in football players (52.0 (17.6) vs. 41.3 (15.5); P < 0.0001) than in controls. These data suggest that the likelihood of becoming a football player depends on the carriage of a high number of "favourable" gene variants.


#8 Return to competitive football after major knee surgery: more questions than answers?
Reference: J Sports Sci. 2014 May 1:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Bizzini M, Silvers HJ.
Summary: Despite significant advances in the diagnostics and treatment of knee injuries over the last decade, several challenges related to the subject "return to sport" remain largely unknown. For example, how should "return to sport" be defined precisely? What is the optimal timing and progression to enable a return to sport? Which criteria should be used during this process? What type of training is indicated? Which measurements can support the decision-making process? How do we optimally prepare athletes for competition without risking re-injury? This paper critically addresses these questions, and proposes a return to play model to prepare football players to compete after major knee surgery (anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, cartilage repair). The goal is to re-integrate the player gradually into the game, taking into account his individual characteristics. Several evidence-based and empirical criteria are needed to plan and monitor the efficient return to competitive football. Injury-prevention education should be part of this process to maximise the chance of a durable career and decrease the risk of re-injury. However, because of the paucity of research on "return to sport", further research is more than warranted.

#9 Ethnicity-related variations of left ventricular remodeling in adolescent amateur football players
Reference: Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014 Apr 27. doi: 10.1111/sms.12238. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Pelà G, Li Calzi M, Crocamo A, Pattoneri P, Goldoni M, Anedda A, Musiari L, Biggi A, Bonetti A, Montanari A.
Summary: Adult and adolescent elite black athletes display - as compared with their white counterparts - excessively increased left ventricle (LV) wall thickness (LVWT), mass (LVM), and relative wall thickness (RWT). To investigate such ethnicity-related differences in non-professional adolescent athletes, 138 male, amateur football players [age 14.0 ± 1.7 years, 42 West-African blacks (BA) and 96 Italian whites (WA)] underwent an echocardiographic study of LV diameters, LVWT, maximal wall thickness (MWT), LVM, and RWT as remodeling index. BA vs WA exhibited greater thickness of septum and posterior wall, higher MWT (10.3 ± 1.7 vs 8.8 ± 1.1 mm), and higher LVM (117 ± 27 vs 101 ± 20 g/m2 ) and RWT (0.44 ± 0.07 vs 0.35 ± 0.04). Age, systolic blood pressure, body mass index, and ethnicity predicted MWT and LVM, whereas ethnicity was the sole strong predictor of RWT. The greater MWT, LVWT, and LVM of 14-year-old, amateur-level BA vs WA indicates that ethnicity substantially affects LV structure in adolescent, non-professional athletes. In contrast with MWT and LVM, elevated RWT was predicted by black ethnicity only. We suggest that concentric-type LV remodeling is a peculiar LV phenotype in adolescent African athletes.

#10 The effects of interset rest on adaptation to 7 weeks of explosive training in young soccer players
Reference: J Sports Sci Med. 2014 May 1;13(2):287-96. eCollection 2014.
Authors: Ramirez-Campillo R, Andrade DC, Alvarez C, Henríquez-Olguín C, Martínez C, Báez-Sanmartín E, Silva-Urra J, Burgos C, Izquierdo M
Summary: The aim of the study was to compare the effects of plyometric training using 30, 60, or 120 s of rest between sets on explosive adaptations in young soccer players. Four groups of athletes (age 10.4 ± 2.3 y; soccer experience 3.3 ± 1.5 y) were randomly formed: control (CG; n = 15), plyometric training with 30 s (G30; n = 13), 60 s (G60; n = 14), and 120 s (G120; n = 12) of rest between training sets. Before and after intervention players were measured in jump ability, 20-m sprint time, change of direction speed (CODS), and kicking performance. The training program was applied during 7 weeks, 2 sessions per week, for a total of 840 jumps. After intervention the G30, G60 and G120 groups showed a significant (p = 0.0001 - 0.04) and small to moderate effect size (ES) improvement in the countermovement jump (ES = 0.49; 0.58; 0.55), 20 cm drop jump reactive strength index (ES = 0.81; 0.89; 0.86), CODS (ES = -1.03; -0.87; -1.04), and kicking performance (ES = 0.39; 0.49; 0.43), with no differences between treatments. The study shows that 30, 60, and 120 s of rest between sets ensure similar significant and small to moderate ES improvement in jump, CODS, and kicking performance during high-intensity short-term explosive training in young male soccer players. Key pointsReplacing some soccer drills by low volume high-intensity plyometric training would be beneficial in jumping, change of direction speed, and kicking ability in young soccer players.A rest period of 30, 60 or 120 seconds between low-volume high-intensity plyometric sets would induce significant and similar explosive adaptations during a short-term training period in young soccer players.Data from this research can be helpful for soccer trainers in choosing efficient drills and characteristics of between sets recovery programs to enhance performances in young male soccer players.

#11 The effects of injury prevention warm-up programmes on knee strength in male soccer players
Reference: Biol Sport. 2013 Dec;30(4):281-8. doi: 10.5604/20831862.1077554. Epub 2013 Nov 25.
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Authors: Daneshjoo A, Mokhtar A, Rahnama N, Yusof A
Summary: The study investigates the effects of the 11+ and HarmoKnee injury prevention programmes on knee strength in male soccer players. Under-21-year-old players (n=36) were divided equally into: the 11+, HarmoKnee and control groups. The programmes were performed for 24 sessions (20-25 min each). The hamstrings and quadriceps strength were measured bilaterally at 60°·s(-1), 180°·s(-1) and 300°·s(-1). The concentric quadriceps peak torque (PT) of the 11+ increased by 27.7% at 300°·s(-1) in the dominant leg (p<0.05). The concentric quadriceps PT of HarmoKnee increased by 36.6%, 36.2% and 28% in the dominant leg, and by 31.3%, 31.7% and 20.05% at 60°·s(-1), 180°·s(-1) and 300°·s(-1) in the non-dominant leg respectively. In the 11+ group the concentric hamstring PT increased by 22%, 21.4% and 22.1% at 60°·s(-1), 180°·s(-1) and 300°·s(-1), respectively in the dominant leg, and by 22.3%, and 15.7% at 60°·s(-1) and 180°·s(-1), in the non-dominant leg. In the HarmoKnee group the hamstrings in the dominant leg showed an increase in PT by 32.5%, 31.3% and 14.3% at 60°·s(-1), 180°·s(-1) and 300°·s(-1), and in the non-dominant leg hamstrings PT increased by 21.1% and 19.3% at 60°·s(-1) and 180°·s(-1) respectively. The concentric hamstrings strength was significantly different between the 11+ and control groups in the dominant (p=0.01) and non-dominant legs (p=0.02). The HarmoKnee programme enhanced the concentric strength of quadriceps. The 11+ and HarmoKnee programmes are useful warm-up protocols for improving concentric hamstring strength in young professional male soccer players. The 11+ programme is more advantageous for its greater concentric hamstring strength improvement compared to the HarmoKnee programme.

#12 Assessment of gastrocnemius tensiomyographic neuromuscular characteristics as risk factors for anterior cruciate ligament injury in male soccer players
Reference: Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2014 May 4. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Alentorn-Geli E, Alvarez-Diaz P, Ramon S, Marin M, Steinbacher G, Rius M, Seijas R, Ares O, Cugat R.
Summary: There is a large number of publications evaluating neuromuscular risk factors for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in athletes. However, most of them have involved the female athlete and, in addition, the gastrocnemius muscles have been less investigated by far compared with the quadriceps and hamstring. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of the gastrocnemius muscles as neuromuscular risk factors for ACL injury in male soccer players, through tensiomyography (TMG). All competitive male soccer players with confirmed ACL tear included in this study underwent resting TMG assessment of gastrocnemius medialis (GM) and gastrocnemius lateralis muscles of the uninjured side. The same values were obtained from a sex-, and sports level-matched control group in both sides. The maximal displacement (D m), delay time (T d), contraction time (T c), sustained time (T s), and half-relaxation time (T r) were obtained for both muscles. TMG values of the uninjured side in ACL-injured group were compared with the mean values between both sides in the control subjects. There were no significant between-group differences in demographic characteristics. Most TMG parameters of the gastrocnemius muscles were not significantly different between the two groups. Only the GM-T r (p = 0.02) and GM-D m (p = 0.006) were significantly higher in the ACL-injured group compared with control group. Neuromuscular characteristics in terms of mechanical and contractile properties of the gastrocnemius muscles may not be significant risk factors for ACL injury in male soccer players.


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