Comprehensive warm-up programme to prevent injuries in young female footballers: cluster randomised controlled trial

BMJ. 2008 Dec 9:337:a2469. doi: 10.1136/bmj.a2469.


Objective: To examine the effect of a comprehensive warm-up programme designed to reduce the risk of injuries in female youth football.

Design: Cluster randomised controlled trial with clubs as the unit of randomisation.

Setting: 125 football clubs from the south, east, and middle of Norway (65 clusters in the intervention group; 60 in the control group) followed for one league season (eight months).

Participants: 1892 female players aged 13-17 (1055 players in the intervention group; 837 players in the control group).

Intervention: A comprehensive warm-up programme to improve strength, awareness, and neuromuscular control during static and dynamic movements.

Main outcome measure: Injuries to the lower extremity (foot, ankle, lower leg, knee, thigh, groin, and hip).

Results: During one season, 264 players had relevant injuries: 121 players in the intervention group and 143 in the control group (rate ratio 0.71, 95% confidence interval 0.49 to 1.03). In the intervention group there was a significantly lower risk of injuries overall (0.68, 0.48 to 0.98), overuse injuries (0.47, 0.26 to 0.85), and severe injuries (0.55, 0.36 to 0.83).

Conclusion: Though the primary outcome of reduction in lower extremity injury did not reach significance, the risk of severe injuries, overuse injuries, and injuries overall was reduced. This indicates that a structured warm-up programme can prevent injuries in young female football players.

Trial registration: ISRCTN10306290.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hip Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Leg Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Muscle Strength
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN10306290