Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Study Spotlight: Back to Back Matches and Injury Prevention

By: Joel Luedke

It's hard to know how people will recovery from activity.  More technology is coming out to help

figure everything out as you practice and compete.  That technology doesn't come cheap though and that can make it hard but could there be other ways to figure out how someone is recovering?  This study takes a look at how younger footballers (soccer players) recovery after 2 matches in a 72 hour period.  They focus on a couple different markers that anyone could implement to look at measuring recovery.

What They Did:
Researchers followed a group of young elite footballers and tested a multitude of factors (see below) at baseline, after the first match and after the second match.  All within a 72 hour period.  They had formalized recovery after each match that consisted of contrast water therapy (3 hot, 4 cold, x2) immediately post match.  The day after the athletes did a recovery training sessions (5 min job, 5 min lower limb stretching, x2).  Training then resumed on day 2 post match.  The second match was 67 hours post the first match.
  • Hamstring strength
  • Pain
  • Range of motion
  • RPE

What They Found:
As you would expect the researchers found decreased hamstring strength post match and increased pain.  There was only loss of range of motion when knee flexion was looked at, all others remained unchanged.  Researchers then found that all measures returned prior to the next match and that generally a >48 hour window might be needed for full return, especially when it comes to hamstring strength.

What It All Means?
The moral of this study is that you can recover and be at a high level of preparation for the next competition IF you make sure to set yourself up for quality recovery.  This needs to include physical recovery as they did in this study but could also include so many other things such as nutrition, meditation, and making sure proper sleep patterns are followed to allow the body take full advantage.  Be smart with your recovery and recovery "harder" to help prepare yourself for the next event.

This is also big in injury prevention.  It shows we can return to that high state again which is going to limit our potential for re-injury.

As we referenced in the "What It All Means?" we could look at so many variables this study wasn't able to in order to make a greater effect.  Time for a follow up study it looks like.

Resource: Wollin, M. Monitoring the effect of football match congestion on hamstring strength and lower limb flexibility: Potential for secondary injury prevention?

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