The fact that you may get injured when playing is probably the only downside of football. However, most of the injuries in football are mild, and you can in fact do a lot to protect yourself and everyone else on the pitch.
Your body has some natural defence mechanisms against injuries that you can train to become more “resistant” to injuries. FIFA’s “11+” has been tested in almost 2000 young female players and considerably reduced their injuries.
“We are seeing an ever-increasing number of injuries in the women’s game. It is essential to recognise the demands that the game places on the body. Players can reduce the risk of injury by introducing into their conditioning programmes elements of strength, balance, agility and core stability work. This must become a natural part of their training routine.”
Hope Powell, women’s football national coach, The Football Association
The paramount factor however is that you do “11+” regularly – meaning prior to every training.
“It is not easy to motivate yourself to do preventive exercises before training sessions – you don’t see the results immediately. Unfortunately, you only realise how important your health is once you have been injured. Then, you are grateful for effective, structured prevention programmes such as ‘11+’.”
Birgit Prinz, German national team striker and physiotherapist