The aim of this research study was to determine whether a neuromuscular focused warm-up would have an acute effect on the likelihood of university footballers sustaining non-contact lower extremity injuries. Ten healthy male competitive footballers (age 20.3 ± 0.4 years; height, 172.3cm ± 8.5cm, body mass: 68.3kg ± 6.7kg), volunteered to participate in this research study, which had received ethical approval from the University of Lincoln’s Ethics Committee. Participants completed a five-minute, non-specific aerobic warm-up in order to complete ‘baseline’ assessments using two injury screening assessment tools; the first being a modified lower extremity functional movement screening (FMS4) (/12), consisting of an overhead squat, hurdle step, in-line lunge and active straight leg raise; alongside completing the landing error scoring system (LESS) (/19). After a 5-minute passive rest, participants completed a ‘Level 2’ FIFA 11+ warm-up session, before repeating the same injury assessment screening procedures, the LESS and FMS4. FMS4 items were scored at the time of testing, whereas LESS scores were allocated retrospectively using footage captured by video-cameras placed 3m from the landing spot at both frontal and sagittal viewpoints. A paired-sample t-test revealed a significant difference (p<0.01) of both LESS and FMS4 scores, between baseline and post-FIFA 11+ time points. Improvements in the mean scores of both the FMS4 (Baseline, 8.40 ± 0.58, post-FIFA 11+, 10.46 ± 0.78) and LESS (Baseline, 8.35 ± 0.69, post-FIFA 11+, 4.78 ± 0.76) post-FIFA 11+ were noted. Furthermore, as part of the FMS4, the overhead squat, in-line lunge and active straight leg raise, all displayed significant scoring differences (p<0.05) at the two aforementioned injury screening assessment time points. The results of this study demonstrate that the completion of a neuromuscular focused warm-up significantly improves an individual’s LESS and FMS4 scores, which ultimately displays a significant acute reduction to the likelihood of a university footballer suffering a non-contact lower extremity injury.
Due to pandemic-related data collection restrictions, some of the data in this project may have been simulated
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