Background: In Switzerland, the national accident insurance company registered a total of 42 262 soccer injuries, resulting in costs of approximately 145 million Swiss francs (~US$130 million) in 2003. Research on injury prevention has shown that exercise-based programs can reduce the incidence of soccer injuries.
Purpose: This study was conducted to assess the implementation and effects of a countrywide campaign to reduce the incidence of soccer injuries in Swiss amateur players.
Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.
Methods: All coaches of the Schweizerischer Fussballverband (SFV) received information material and were instructed to implement the injury prevention program "The 11" in their training of amateur players. After the instruction, the coaches were asked to rate the quality and the feasibility of "The 11." Before the start of the intervention and 4 years later, a representative sample of about 1000 Swiss soccer coaches were interviewed about the frequency and characteristics of injuries in their teams. Teams that did or did not practice "The 11" were compared with respect to the incidence of soccer injuries.
Results: A total of 5549 coaches for amateur players were instructed to perform "The 11" in the training with their teams. The ratings of the teaching session and the prevention program were overall very positive. In 2008, 80% of all SFV coaches knew the prevention campaign "The 11" and 57% performed the program or most parts of it. Teams performing "The 11" had an 11.5% lower incidence of match injuries and a 25.3% lower incidence of training injuries than other teams; noncontact injuries in particular were prevented by the program.
Conclusion: "The 11" was successfully implemented in a countrywide campaign and proved effective in reducing soccer injuries in amateur players. An effect of the prevention program was also observed in the population-based insurance data and health-care costs.