Save Your Hamstrings? Save Your ACL? Use The FIFA 11+ !

September 29, 2015 | Ankle, Hamstring, Hip, Knee, Prevention, Soccer

By Dev Mishra, M.D.

President, Sideline Sports Doc

Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Stanford University

Key Points:

  • The FIFA 11+ warmup program results in reductions to all soccer related injuries by an incredible 30% to 70%
  • The program works for males and females, across multiple age groups
  • You must consistently use the program at least 2 times per week, all season
  • The head coach is in an excellent position to improve player health by requiring this warmup program

I listened recently to a presentation by Holly Silvers, one of the creators of the PEP FIFA 11warmup program for soccer that ultimately evolved into the FIFA 11+ program. I was astounded by what I heard- using the program consistently, at least 2 times per week produced reductions in all soccer related injuries by 30% to 70%.

For context, I’ve only seen those types of health-related reductions if a drug is involved, for example using statins to reduce LDL cholesterol or using insulin for a diabetic to reduce blood sugar. But for a physical intervention to reduce injury rates by this amount is really unheard of. I think other than the 11+ program you could only reduce injury rates this much by staying in bed all day.

The links at the bottom of this page will take you to FIFA’s F-Marc site where you can download the program, as well as see some supporting scientific information. Please review it critically yourself and I believe you’ll come to the same conclusion: this program works.

At Sideline Sports Doc we’ve been preaching the benefits of injury reduction for years now, so let’s review a few of these areas. Each of these can be achieved through use of the FIFA 11+:

  • Reduce injuries to the groin, hamstrings, knees, legs, ankles by 30% to 70% for males and females, across multiple age groups
  • Reduced injuries means you keep players in your squad longer
  • The program also improves soccer specific performance
  • Fewer injuries means lower health related costs. In many parts of the United States a severe ankle sprain will cost in excess of $3000 to diagnose and treat. These costs will often be borne by the parents through high-deductible insurance plans. If you’re a parent, wouldn’t you rather have a healthy child, and keep that money for something else?

Like any safety and preventive measure, this program is only good if you actually use it, consistently through the season, at least 2 times per week. The person in the best position to implement the program and positively influence player health is the head coach. Take a stand for player health by letting your players know that you are going to be doing the program all year, let them know that you are doing it because you really care about their health, safety, and performance.

Your players look up to you as their coach, and if you set the example they will do the program. Save a hamstring, save an ACL. Use the FIFA 11+.

The FIFA 11+ Program

FIFA Medical Assessment And Research Centre (F-MARC)

Comprehensive review article on results of the 11+ program