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With a world class FIFA football tournament on our doorstep to show us how it’s done, it shouldn’t be hard to believe that football is the number one sport of choice for Kiwi kids.

Every Saturday thousands of children and adults alike tussle around to get the ball into the elusive net. But, as with any sport, this comes at a cost. In the last year, ACC forked out a staggering $30 million for football injuries, with close to 40,000 new injuries being registered. At best these footballers managed to lick their wounds, came in for a bit of physio, and are back on the pitch within a few weeks, but as we all know this isn’t always the case.

A lot of our physios spend their Saturdays as a pitchside physio, and are surrounded by keen supporters who tell of that final injury that retired them from the field permanently.

It’s a no-brainer that injury prevention at any level of football is key, and it’s not just health professionals that will tell you this.

Recently FIFA have teamed up with New Zealand Football and ACC to roll out a nationwide injury prevention programme, called the FIFA 11. It’s a short warm-up programme which takes players through exercises best suited for their ability. Many of our physios have been using this in clinic over the past few years with footballers and achieving great results. Why? Because it’s proven to reduce the risk of injury by up to 50%, and that’s significant

The plan is to eventually have this incorporated into every football club in our fine land, but there’s no reason not to jump on board early. Keep an eye out for changes at your trainings, and come have a chat with your Proactive physio or exercise physiologist if want to maximise your or your child’s footballing years.

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