Latest research in football - week 10 - 2023

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


Following studies were retrieved for this week:

#1 Body Composition of Male Professional Soccer Players Using Different Measurement Methods: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Reference: Nutrients. 2023 Feb 25;15(5):1160. doi: 10.3390/nu15051160.

Authors: Jaime Sebastiá-Rico, Jose M Soriano, Noelia González-Gálvez, José Miguel Martínez-Sanz

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Summary: The performance of male soccer players (MSP) depends on multiple factors such as body composition. The physical demands of modern soccer have changed, so the ideal body composition (BC) requirements must be adapted to the present. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to describe the anthropometric, BC, and somatotype characteristics of professional MSP and to compare the values reported according to the methods and equations used. We systematically searched Embase, PubMed, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science following the PRISMA statement. Random-effects meta-analysis, a pooled summary of means, and 95% CI (method or equation) were calculated. Random models were used with the restricted maximum likelihood (REML) method. Seventy-four articles were included in the systematic review and seventy-three in the meta-analysis. After comparing the groups according to the assessment method (kinanthropometry, bioimpedance, and densitometry), significant differences were found in height, fat mass in kilograms, fat mass percentage, and fat-free mass in kilograms (p = 0.001; p < 0.0001). Taking into account the equation used to calculate the fat mass percentage and ∑skinfolds, significant differences were observed in the data reported according to groups (p < 0.001). Despite the limitations, this study provides useful information that could help medical technical staff to properly assess the BC of professional MSP, providing a range of guidance values for the different BC.



#2 Hamstring muscle injury in football players - Part I : epidemiology, risk factors, injury mechanisms and treatment

Reference: Rev Med Liege. 2023 Mar;78(3):160-164.

Authors: François Delvaux, Jean-Louis Croisier, Christopher Carling, Emmanuel Orhant, Jean-François Kaux

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Summary: Due to its high frequency and recurrence rate, hamstring injury represents an important issue in football currently. The mechanisms of injury and the main modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors are now well documented and should allow the implementation of effective preventive strategies. In the treatment of the injured player, the physician will have to rely on a close collaboration with a quality sports physiotherapist and implement a series of key elements allowing an optimal return to the soccer field, which means at the same level of performance compared to the pre-injury period and with a minimal risk of recurrence. This article discusses these different elements in the form of a narrative review of the literature.



#3 Comparison of the Effects of Prebiotics and Synbiotics Supplementation on the Immune Function of Male University Football Players

Reference: Nutrients. 2023 Feb 25;15(5):1158. doi: 10.3390/nu15051158.

Authors: Lufang Zhang, Hui Xiao, Li Zhao, Zeting Liu, Lanmu Chen, Chenzhe Liu

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Summary: This study was conducted to compare the effects of long-term prebiotic and synbiotic supplementations on the immunosuppression of male football players after daily high-intensity training and a one-time strenuous exercise. A total of 30 male university student-athletes were recruited and randomly assigned to the prebiotic (PG, n = 15) or synbiotic group (SG, n = 15), receiving a prebiotic or synbiotic once per day for six weeks. Physiological assessments were conducted by a maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) test and an exhaustive constant load exercise (75% VO2max test). Inflammatory cytokine and secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA) were measured. VO2max, maximal heart rate (HRmax), and lactic acid elimination rate (ER) were used to evaluate aerobic capacity. Upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) complaints were evaluated using a questionnaire. URTI incidence and duration were significantly lower in the SG group than that in the PG group (p < 0.05). At baseline, SIgA and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) levels in the SG group (p < 0.01) as well as IL-1β and IL-6 in the PG group (p < 0.05) were significantly increased, and IL-4 concentration was markedly reduced in the PG group (p < 0.01). The concentrations of IL-4, IL-10 and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) were significantly reduced in the PG and SG group immediately after the constant load exercise. Significantly decreased HRmax and enhanced ER (increased by 193.78%) were detected in the SG group, not in the PG group, during the constant load experiment (p < 0.05) and the recovery period (p < 0.01), respectively. However, VO2max value was not changed. These data suggest that synbiotic supplementation for six weeks has a more positive effect than prebiotics on the immune function and athletic performance of male university football players.



#4 Coaching, Mentorship, and Leadership Lessons Learned from Professional Football

Reference: Clin Sports Med. 2023 Apr;42(2):291-299. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2022.11.009.

Authors: James M Whalen, Daryl J Nelson, Ryan J Whalen, Matthew T Provencher

Summary: Coaching, mentorship, and leadership are all paramount for the creation of a championship-winning football team. Looking back and studying the great coaches of professional football provides valuable insight into the qualities and the characteristics they possessed and how that impacted their leadership. Many of the great coaches from this game have instilled team standards and a culture that led to unprecedented success and sprouted into many other great coaches and leaders. Leadership at all levels of an organization is essential to consistently achieve a championship-caliber team.



#5 Type IX Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior Lesion in a Professional Football Player: A Rare Pattern of Shoulder Instability in a Non-throwing Athlete

Reference: Cureus. 2023 Feb 7;15(2):e34753. doi: 10.7759/cureus.34753. eCollection 2023 Feb.

Authors: Edgar Amorim, Pedro Maganinho, Diogo Rodrigues-Gomes, Sérgio Rodrigues-Gomes, Nuno Sevivas

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Summary: Anterior shoulder instability is the most frequent type of glenohumeral instability, especially among young athletes. Superior labral anterior-posterior (SLAP) injuries involve the superior glenoid labrum where the long head of the biceps tendon (LHBT) inserts. There is still some debate regarding the pathogenesis, clinical presentation, and treatment of these lesions. We report a clinical case of an 18-year-old male professional football player with a rare type IX SLAP lesion. Given the recurrence of instability after prior nonoperative management, surgical treatment was seen as the best option, and a pan-labral arthroscopic repair suture anchor fixation was performed. Three months after undergoing a personalized postoperative rehabilitation program, he was able to return to full sport with the same competitive level, and no recurrent instability or other symptoms were reported throughout the 18-month follow-up period.



#6 Obstacles and opportunities for injury prevention in professional football in Qatar: exploring the implementation reality

Reference: BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2023 Mar 10;9(1):e001370. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2022-001370. eCollection 2023.

Authors: Montassar Tabben, Evert Verhagen, Marit Warsen, Mokthar Chaabane, Yorck Schumacher, Khalid Alkhelaifi, Bahar Hassanmirzaei, Roald Bahr, Karim Chamari, Caroline Bolling

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Summary: Research focusing on reducing the risk of injuries has increased over the last two decades showing that prevention implementation in real life is challenging. The aim was to explore the experience and opinions of professional football stakeholders regarding injuries, their prevention and the implementation of preventive measures. Technical and medical staff from Qatar's premier football league with 22 professionals from 6 teams participated in this study. Seminstructured interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using the thematic analysis method. All the participants acknowledged the importance of injury prevention. They mentioned teamwork, trust and communication as critical factors for a successful injury prevention implementation. Teams' doctors see themselves mainly involved in the treatment and recovery process, and to a lesser degree, in the prevention process. Physiotherapists defined their primary responsibilities as screening for injury risk and providing individual exercises to players. The participants declared that the fitness coach is responsible for injury prevention implementation. All stakeholders reported that the fitness coach plays a vital role in communication by bridging the head coach and the medical staff. Stakeholders reported that the Qatari football league has a very particular context around the player, such as socioecological factors influencing injury prevention implementation. The fitness coach plays a vital role in the injury prevention implementation system, as one of the key actors for the process, as well as the bridge between the medical team and the head coach, resulting from their better communication with the head coaches. The findings support considering and understanding the contextual factors during the development of preventive strategies in football.



#7 Monitoring mood state to improve performance in soccer players: A brief review

Reference: Front Psychol. 2023 Feb 22;14:1095238. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1095238. eCollection 2023.

Authors: Okba Selmi, Ibrahim Ouergui, Antonella Muscella, Danielle E Levitt, Katsuhiko Suzuki, Anissa Bouassida

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Summary: Psychological aspects of sport are key in maintaining athlete motivation and make a difference in competitive outcomes. Adjustments to training may be necessary according to athletes' emotional state. Therefore, it is important to assess and quantify mood states throughout the season in team sports, including among soccer players. The Profile of Mood States (POMS) is a widely used questionnaire that assesses emotional states characterized by positive or negative feelings and can be administered repeatedly to assess changes in mood state. This review aims to assess and summarize the current literature on mood state variation in soccer players with a specific focus on training loads, training modalities, and competitive performance. A literature search was systematically conducted and resulted in 156 records. After removing duplicates, items with irrelevant titles and abstracts were screened out, and full texts were then screened for relevance and compared with inclusion and exclusion criteria. The remaining 37 articles were included in the final qualitative synthesis. POMS scores were related to variability in training load, intensity of the training period, modality of training exercises, competitive performance and time of day in soccer players. Common recommendations include monitoring the mood state of soccer players during training sessions, matches, and throughout training periods to detect early signs of psychological disturbance and aid in optimizing high-level training performance. The POMS allows for monitoring of players' psychological state, providing coaches with data to aid in adjusting acute program variables according to players' psychological states and improve performance. Results offer practical support for the use of a simple POMS measurement as part of an overall program to monitor the players' psychological states. Results also highlight how training choices (i.e., load and exercise modality) and competitive performance are related to mood states (i.e., tension, anger, confusion, depression, fatigue, and vigor).



#8 The effects of repeated backward running training on measures of physical fitness in youth male soccer players

Reference: J Sports Sci. 2023 Mar 13;1-9. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2023.2184770. Online ahead of print.

Authors: Yassine Negra, Senda Sammoud, Aaron Uthoff, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, Jason Moran, Helmi Chaabene

Summary: This study explored the effects of an 8-week repeated backward running training (RBRT) programme on measures of physical fitness in youth male soccer players. Youth male soccer players were randomly allocated into a RBRT group (n = 20; 13.95 ± 0.22y) or a control group (CG; n = 16; 14.86 ± 0.29y). The CG continued normal soccer training, while the RBRT group replaced some soccer drills with RBRT twice per week. Within-group analysis revealed that RBRT improved all performance variables (∆-9.99% to 14.50%; effect size [ES] = -1.79 to 1.29; p ≤ 0.001). Meanwhile, trivial-to-moderate detrimental effects on sprinting and change of direction (CoD) speed (∆1.55% to 10.40%; p ≤ 0.05) were noted in the CG. The number of individuals improving performance above the smallest worthwhile change ranged from 65-100% across all performance variables in the RBRT group, whereas<50% in the CG reached that threshold. The between-group analysis indicated that the RBRT group improved performance on all performance tasks more than the CG (ES = -2.23 to 1.10; p ≤ 0.05). These findings demonstrate that substituting part of a standard soccer training regimen with RBRT can enhance youth soccer players' sprinting, CoD, jumping, and RSA performance.



#9 Mild Hemophilia In A Competitive High School Soccer Player: A Case Report

Reference: J Athl Train. 2023 Mar 14. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-0402.22. Online ahead of print.

Authors: Omole Oluwakorede, Reed Joan, Amy L Dunn, N Gleason Courtney

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Summary: In this case report, we discuss a case of a now 23-year-old athlete, diagnosed with mild hemophilia who successfully played varsity soccer throughout high school and continued to play intramural and club soccer while in college. A prophylactic protocol was developed by the athlete's hematologist to allow his safe participation in contact sports. Similar prophylactic protocols have been discussed by Maffet et al, that successfully allowed an athlete to participate in high level basketball. However, there still exist significant barriers to the athlete with hemophilia participating in contact sports. We discuss how athletes with adequate support networks can participate in contact sports. Decisions need to be made on a case-by-case basis and involve the athlete, family, team and medical personnel.



#10 How does the increase in foreign players affect football?

Reference: BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2023 Mar 15;15(1):32. doi: 10.1186/s13102-023-00643-1.

Authors: Ozan Sever, Erdem Ciğerci, Melih Öztop, Gökhan İpekoğlu, Süleyman Gönülateş, Zeki Akyildiz, Hadi Nobari

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Summary: In the study, we tried to analyze the effects of foreign players on Turkish Super League matches. For this purpose, in this long-term study, 1836 competition data played in 6 seasons between 2014 and 2020 was obtained from each year. Pearson's correlation coefficient applied between 18 different variables (goal, shoot, pass, cross, corner, offside, foul, yellow card, red card, accurate shot, percentage of the precise pass, rate of accurate access on opponent's field, the difference of ball possession percentage, shot difference, pass difference, big team superiority, home team superiority) and the number of foreign players (NoFP, active foreign players in 90 min.). In the Turkish Super League, within six seasons (2014-20), the NoFP in a match increased from 10.43 (38.06%) to 17.99 (64.26%). The increment was partially linear and statistically significant (F = 594.85) in all seasons. A positive association was found between NoFP several of passes (r = 0.219), percentage of accurate passes (r = 0.133), percentage of precise passes on the opponent's field (r = 0.139), exact pass difference between opponents (r = 0.114), and ball possession difference between opponents (r = 0.113). Fouls committed decreased with the increase of NoFP (r = -0.250). Although the win probability of the teams named The Big Three (Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray, and Beşiktaş) decreased from 67% (2014 season rate) to 50% in the last two seasons, no association was identified between the NoFP and big team superiority. Consequently, NoFP increment may improve the game quality by increasing accurate passes and passes in the opponent's field. The number of passes and the ball possession percentage difference between opponent teams may indicate that one team has control of the game by keeping possession or the other is tactically giving possession. These findings may suggest that the game evolved into half-field, tactical, set-play, possessioning competition. Analyzing variables such as game speed, intensity, the duration of the ball in play, running distance, energy consumption, and fatigue markers may light future studies.



#11 The relative age effect is widespread among European adult professional soccer players but does not affect their market value

Reference: PLoS One. 2023 Mar 23;18(3):e0283390. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0283390. eCollection 2023.

Authors: Eduard Bezuglov, Ryland Morgans, Mikhail Butovskiy, Anton Emanov, Larisa Shagiakhmetova, Bekzhan Pirmakhanov, Zbigniew Waśkiewicz, Artemii Lazarev

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Summary: The relative age effect (RAE) is most prevalent in highly competitive youth soccer and persists to a lesser extent in senior soccer. However, it is known that soccer players born in the second half of the year are as successful at senior level, indicating that they are equally talented although under-represented at youth level due to bias during the selection process, in which the emphasis is on more pronounced physical qualities in a specific period of time. Examining the prevalence of the RAE among professional soccer players depending on the level of competition and playing position, as well as analyzing the relationship between the player's birth quarter and market value, are of scientific interest. The dates of birth, playing position, and market value of all adult male soccer players included in the final rosters of teams from the top-division of 54 European countries, listed on on August 15th, 2020, were analyzed (18,429 soccer players in total). All players were categorized into four groups according to the quarter of birth (Q) and playing position. All teams were further sub-divided in groups depending on the soccer clubs' level of representation in the UEFA Champions League. Of 18,429 players, 30.9% were born in Q1, 25.7% in Q2, 23.8% in Q3 and 19.6% in Q4. The number of soccer players born in Q1 was lower in less competitive leagues. The number of players born in Q1 decreased as the level of competition decreased; the highest percentage of these players was observed in clubs that are among the top 50 ranked in UEFA or compete in the most prestigious European championships. The RAE was less pronounced in teams that participate in lower competitive championships. There was no significant difference in market value between players playing position and level of competition when born in different quarters. Although, the most expensive soccer players in the European championships were late-born forwards. Players of various groups differed in their market value. The RAE is currently prevalent in all the most competitive senior soccer leagues and teams in Europe regardless of playing position. There are no significant differences in market value between players of the same playing position and level of competition when born in different quarters. The most expensive soccer players in the European championships are forwards born in Q4. These findings may indicate that the under-representation of "late-born" soccer players in youth, and then consequently in adult soccer, is not associated with lower talent, but with other factors, possibly based on physiological characteristics and socio-cultural factors. Further measures are needed to mitigate the discriminatory effects of selection bias based on the RAE.



#12 Neurodegenerative disease among male elite football (soccer) players in Sweden: a cohort study

Reference: Lancet Public Health. 2023 Apr;8(4):e256-e265. doi: 10.1016/S2468-2667(23)00027-0. Epub 2023 Mar 16.

Authors: Peter Ueda, Björn Pasternak, Carl-Emil Lim, Martin Neovius, Manzur Kader, Magnus Forssblad, Jonas F Ludvigsson, Henrik Svanström

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Summary: Football (soccer) players might be at increased risk of neurodegenerative disease, which has led to questions regarding the safety of the sport and recent measures introduced by football associations to reduce heading of the ball. We aimed to assess the risk of neurodegenerative disease among male football players in the Swedish top division Allsvenskan, compared with matched controls. In this cohort study, we identified all male football players (amateurs and professionals) who had played at least one game in Allsvenskan from Aug 1, 1924 to Dec 31, 2019 and excluded players whose personal identity number could not be retrieved or be identified in the Total Population Register, and those who were not born in Sweden and who had immigrated to the country after age 15 years. Football players were matched with up to ten controls from the general population according to sex, age, and region of residence. We used nationwide registers to compare the risk of neurodegenerative disease (diagnoses recorded in death certificates, during hospital admissions and outpatient visits, or use of prescription drugs for dementia) among football players versus controls. We also assessed each type of neurodegenerative disease (Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, motor neuron disease, and Parkinson's disease) separately, and compared the risk of neurodegenerative disease among outfield players versus goalkeepers. Of 7386 football players who had played at least one game in the top Swedish division between Aug 1, 1924, and Dec 31, 2019, 182 players were excluded for an unretrievable personal identity number, and 417 were excluded due to their number not being identified in the Total Population Register. After a further exclusion of 780 players and 11 627 controls who were born outside of Sweden and who had immigrated to the country after age 15 years, 6007 football players (510 goalkeepers) were included in the study population along with 56 168 matched controls. During follow-up to Dec 31, 2020, 537 (8·9%) of 6007 football players and 3485 (6·2%) of 56 168 controls were diagnosed with neurodegenerative disease. The risk of neurodegenerative disease was higher among football players than controls (hazard ratio [HR] 1·46 [95% CI 1·33-1·60]). Alzheimer's disease and other dementias were more common among football players than controls (HR 1·62 [95% CI 1·47-1·78]), significant group differences were not observed for motor neuron disease (HR 1·27 [0·73-2·22]), and Parkinson's disease was less common among football players (HR 0·68 [0·52-0·89]). The risk of neurodegenerative disease was higher for outfield players than controls (HR 1·50 [95% CI 1·36-1·65]) but not for goalkeepers versus controls (HR 1·07 [0·78-1·47]), and outfield players had a higher risk of neurodegenerative disease than did goalkeepers (HR 1·43 [1·03-1·99]). All-cause mortality was slightly lower among football players than controls (HR 0·95 [95% CI 0·91-0·99]). In this cohort study, male football players who had played in the Swedish top division had a significantly increased risk of neurodegenerative disease compared with population controls. The risk increase was observed for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias but not for other types of neurodegenerative disease, and among outfield players, but not among goalkeepers. Our study expands on the data that can be used to assess and manage risks in the sport.



#13 Alive and kicking: suicide rates and major soccer events in Austria, Germany and Switzerland

Reference: Eur J Public Health. 2023 Mar 20;ckad042. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckad042. Online ahead of print.

Authors: Eva-Maria Pichler, Martin Ploederl, Lucas Rainer, Thomas S Gilhofer, Jonathan Michel, Jan Gerrit van der Stouwe, Thomas F Luescher, Christian M Schmied, Wolfram Kawohl, Jens Kronschnabel, David Niederseer

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Summary: Major sporting events are postulated to reduce suicide rates by increased social connectedness, by identifying with winning teams, or, conversely, to increase suicide rates by the 'broken promise effect'. In our observational epidemiological study, we investigated changes in suicide rates between 1970 and 2017 in Austria, Germany and Switzerland during the European and World Soccer Championships in general, and on days that the home team played, won or lost. Combining all three studied nations no statistically significant change in the incidence of daily suicides during soccer championships compared to a control period was noted (38.29 ± 9.02 vs. 37.33 ± 10.58; incidence risk ratio = 1.03; 95% confidence interval: 1.01-1.05, P = 0.05). Essentially, no differences in the expected directions were found, and none remained statistically significant after correcting for multiple comparisons in subgroups for country, age and gender in all three studied countries. Compared to a control period, neither a significant difference in the respective national suicide rate was found after Germany's four championship victories nor after Austria's emotional only win over Germany. Our results do not support the assumption of increased social connectedness and, thus, lowered suicide risk during major sporting events or changes in suicide risk depending on the outcome of important games as predicted by the broken promise effect or changes in self-efficacy by identification with winning teams.



#14 High-level soccer players have a low rate of return to performance after hip arthroscopy for femoroacetabular impingement syndrome

Reference: Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2023 Mar 22. doi: 10.1007/s00167-023-07336-9.

Authors: Sofie Sjövall Anari, Alexander Olsson, Axel Öhlin, Neel Desai, Eric Hamrin Senorski, Mikael Sansone, Ida Lindman

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Summary: Femoroacetabular impingement syndrome (FAIS) is a known cause of impaired sports performance in athletes and the relationship between FAIS and soccer players has previously been described. Hip arthroscopy is a viable treatment option that can facilitate athletes' return to sport (RTS). The aim of this study was to evaluate the RTS and return to performance (RTP) with objective measurements in high-level soccer players after hip arthroscopy for FAIS. Soccer players, with a hip sports activity scale (HSAS) level of 7 or 8 before symptom onset and undergoing hip arthroscopy for FAIS between 2011 and 2019 were identified in the Gothenburg hip arthroscopic registry. A total of 83 high-level soccer players, with a mean age of 23.9 (SD 4.4) years at surgery, were included. To verify the activity level and further stratify players as elite or sub-elite, player statistics were collected from soccer-specific scout webpages and the Swedish national soccer association. The return to sport was defined as return to one game of soccer. Return to performance was defined as playing at the same level, or higher, and participating in at least 80% of the number of games played the season before symptom onset or the season before surgery either the first or second season after hip arthroscopy. In total, 71 (85.5%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 76.1-92.3%) of the players returned to sport the first or second season after surgery. Compared to the season before symptom onset, 31 (37.3%, 95% CI 27.0-48.7%) players returned to performance the first or second season after surgery, and 32 (38.6%, 95% CI 28.1-49.9%) players returned to performance the first or second season after surgery compared to the season before surgery. A high rate of elite and sub-elite soccer players return to soccer after hip arthroscopy for FAIS. However, less than half of the players RTP when evaluating performance through level of play and number of games played.



#15 The Safe Landing warm up technique modification programme: An effective anterior cruciate ligament injury mitigation strategy to improve cutting and jump-movement quality in soccer players

Reference: J Sports Sci. 2023 Mar 23;1-11. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2023.2193451. Online ahead of print.

Authors: Jesús Olivares-Jabalera, Alberto Fílter, Thomas Dos Santos, José Ortega-Domínguez, Víctor M Soto Hermoso, Bernardo Requena

Summary: The objective of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Safe Landing (SL), a 6-week technique-modification (TM) programme, on cutting and jump-landing movement quality in football players. In a non-randomized design, 32 male semi-professional football players from two Spanish clubs participated in the study: one served as the control group (CG, n = 11), while the other performed the SL (n = 15). Performance and movement quality of drop vertical jump and 70º change of direction (COD70) were evaluated through 2D video footage pre- and post-intervention. In such tasks, the Landing Error Scoring System for first (LESS1) and second (LESS2) landings, and the Cutting Movement Assessment Score (CMAS) were used for assessing movement quality. Pre-to-post changes and baseline-adjusted ANCOVA were used. Medium-to-large differences between groups at post-test were shown in CMAS, LESS1 and LESS2 (p < 0.082, ղ2 = 0.137-0.272), with small-to-large improvements in SL (p < 0.046, ES=0.546-1.307), and CG remaining unchanged (p > 0.05) pre-to-post. In COD70 performance, large differences were found between groups (p < 0.047, ղ2 = 0.160-0.253), with SL maintaining performance (p > 0.05, ES=0.039-0.420), while CG moderately decreasing performance (p = 0.024, ES=0.753) pre-to-post. The SL is a feasible and effective TM program to improve movement quality and thus potential injury risk in cutting and landing, while not negatively affecting performance.



#16 Using Social Network Analysis to Study Relationships Between Young Soccer Players' Bone Age, Body Size, and the Centrality of Their Pass Interactions

Reference: Percept Mot Skills. 2023 Mar 24;315125231165167. doi: 10.1177/00315125231165167.

Authors: Paulo Henrique Borges, Julio Cesar da Costa, Luiz Fernando Ramos-Silva, Felipe A Moura, Hélio Serassuelo Junior, Alexandre Moreira, Gibson Moreira Praça, Enio Ricardo Vaz Ronque

Summary: Prior research has suggested relevance to anthropometric variance of youth athletes at various stages of their maturation, and prior studies of youth players' soccer skills have failed to consider their interdependent interactions during play. Accordingly, to address both of these separate research omissions, we aimed in this study to analyze the relationships between young (U-13 and U-15 groups) soccer players' bone age and body size indicators and centrality measures of their pass interactions during small sided games. We included young 81 athletes (M age = 14.4, SD = 1.1 years) from whom we took anthropometric measurements of body mass, height, and trunk-cephalic height and obtained their bone age using the Tanner-Whitehouse 3 classification method. We also filmed small-sided games in the goal keeper/three player (GK3-3GK) format to analyze the centrality of their passing actions on the following measures: degree of centrality, closeness of centrality, degree of prestige, and proximity of prestige. There were no group differences in the prominence of passing actions across these three measures (tmean = -3.13; p > .05). Canonical correlations of these relationships were significant only in the U-13 group, in which centrality in passing actions was related to body size (r = 0.71; R2 = 0.21; ʌ = 0.28; p = .03). U-13 players who were physically larger and who presented higher bone age showed centralized main passing actions.



#17 Hard talk, costly walk: The evolution of a soft budget constraint syndrome in a football club at the periphery of Europe

Reference: Front Sports Act Living. 2023 Mar 7;5:1107988. doi: 10.3389/fspor.2023.1107988. eCollection 2023.

Authors: Bernt Arne Bertheussen

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Summary: A football club is exposed to a soft budget constraint (SBC) syndrome if it still survives after finding it impossible to break even financially in the long run. This in-depth case study presents a historical analysis of the evolution of an SBC syndrome in a top-tier Arctic football club over 30 years using public archive data. In oral speeches, strategy documents, and other official situations, the hierarchy at the club emphasized the importance of operating in a financially sustainable manner, that is, complying with a hard budget constraint approach (HBC). The club went along this path during the first years after entering the top tier in the mid-1980s. This was made possible by a team of low-cost local players. However, in line with increased media and sponsorship revenues in the 1990s, the economic threshold for competing at the top-level rose. Thus, during the last two decades of the club's financial history, the budget constraint (BC) approach softened. Primarily, a distant benefactor and capital injections from a joint-stock company owned mainly by the local bank and local energy company funded the overspending. Furthermore, the study uncovers how a soft financial control and monitoring system introduced by the national football association failed to emancipate the club from the SBC syndrome. The study finally suggests some measures that can eventually harden the BC at this as well as many other financially struggling European football clubs.



#18 The associations of transformational leadership and team cohesion on the psychological health of young football players through basic psychological needs

Reference: Sci Med Footb. 2023 Mar 27;1-10. doi: 10.1080/24733938.2023.2194287. Online ahead of print.

Authors: Sinan Yildirim, Alper Yildiz, Hande Türkeri Bozkurt, Emre Bilgin, Yılmaz Yüksel, Ziya Koruç

Summary: The present study examined the associations of transformational leadership behaviors and team cohesion with the psychological health (life satisfaction, positive and negative affect, and burnout) of athletes and the indirect relationship of basic psychological needs. The sample consisted of 252 (boys) players aged between 13 and 15. The model data fit was also verified. The results demonstrated that the transformational leadership behaviors of coaches were indirectly related to athletes' psychological health. Team cohesion was related to athletes' psychological health both directly and indirectly. Basic psychological needs played an indirect role in these relationships. Transformational leadership and team cohesion have important implications for the healthy development of young people.



#19 Assessment of left atrial morphological and functional differences in professional male football players: a prospective, case-control study

Reference: Cardiovasc J Afr. 2023 Mar 22;34:1-5. doi: 10.5830/CVJA-2023-010. Online ahead of print.

Authors: Sefa Gül, Hasan Güngör

Summary: Intensive physical activity in athletes leads to considerable changes in the morphology and physiology of the left atrium through physiological, exercise-induced remodelling. This study aimed to assess the mechanical and electrophysiological changes in professional football players using electrocardiographic and echocardiographic assessment tools. This prospective, case-control study was performed between February and June 2022. The population consisted of elite male football players (n = 49, group F) as the study group, and healthy male non-athlete individuals of matching age (n = 50, group C) as the control group. All participants underwent electrocardiographic and echocardiographic (two-dimensional and tissue Doppler) examinations. Volumetric and functional assessment of the left atrium was identified as the study's primary outcome. There was no significant difference between the groups in terms of demographic and morphometric characteristics (p > 0.05). Maximum and minimum P waves and PR-interval duration were significantly higher in group F than in group C (p = 0.011, p = 0.005 and p < 0.001). Diameter, maximum and minimum volumes of the left atrium, and their corresponding indexes were significantly increased in group F (p < 0.0). Ejection fraction of the left atrium was significantly lower in group F than in group C (p = 0.001). Pulmonary acceleration time and tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion was significantly higher in the football players (p = 0.023 and p < 0.001). Increased diameter, maximum and minimum volumes of the left atrium, and their corresponding indexes could be demonstrated in the elite football players. The morphological and functional changes in the left atrium might be a physiological consequence of left atrial cardiac remodelling to intensive and chronic training.



#20 How European Fans in Training (EuroFIT), a lifestyle change program for men delivered in football clubs, achieved its effect: a mixed methods process evaluation embedded in a randomised controlled trial

Reference: BMC Public Health. 2023 Mar 20;23(1):526. doi: 10.1186/s12889-023-15419-y.

Authors: Christopher Bunn, Victoria Palmer, Nai Rui Chng, Eivind Andersen, Cindy M Gray, Kate Hunt, Judith G M Jelsma, Heather Morgan, Maria Nijhuis-van der Sanden, Hugo V Pereira, Matthew Philpott, Glyn C Roberts, John Rooksby, Øystein B Røynesdal, Marlene N Silva, Marit Sørensen, Pedro J Teixeira, Theo van Achterberg, Irene van de Glind, Willem van Mechelen, Femke van Nassau, Hidde P van der Ploeg, Sally Wyke

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Summary: A randomised trial of European Fans in Training (EuroFIT), a 12-week healthy lifestyle program delivered in 15 professional football clubs in the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom, successfully increased physical activity and improved diet but did not reduce sedentary time. To guide future implementation, this paper investigates how those effects were achieved. We ask: 1) how was EuroFIT implemented? 2) what were the processes through which outcomes were achieved? We analysed qualitative data implementation notes, observations of 29 of 180 weekly EuroFIT deliveries, semi-structured interviews with 16 coaches and 15 club representatives, and 30 focus group discussions with participants (15 post-program and 15 after 12 months). We descriptively analysed quantitative data on recruitment, attendance at sessions and logs of use of the technologies and survey data on the views of participants at baseline, post program and after 12 months. We used a triangulation protocol to investigate agreement between data from difference sources, organised around meeting 15 objectives within the two research questions. We successfully recruited clubs, coaches and men to EuroFIT though the draw of the football club seemed stronger in the UK and Portugal. Advertising that emphasized getting fitter, club-based deliveries, and not 'standing out' worked and attendance and fidelity were good, so that coaches in all countries were able to deliver EuroFIT flexibly as intended. Coaches in all 15 clubs facilitated the use of behaviour change techniques and interaction between men, which together enhanced motivation. Participants found it harder to change sedentary time than physical activity and diet. Fitting changes into daily routines, planning for setbacks and recognising the personal benefit of behaviour change were important to maintain changes. Bespoke technologies were valued, but technological hitches frustrated participants. EuroFIT was delivered as planned by trained club coaches working flexibly in all countries. It worked as expected to attract men and support initiation and maintenance of changes in physical activity and diet but the use of bespoke, unstable, technologies was frustrating. Future deliveries should eliminate the focus on sedentary time and should use only proven technologies to support self-monitoring and social interaction.


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