Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) has been applied over skeletal muscles before intense exercise (muscular pre-conditioning) in order to reduce fatigue and muscle damage (measured by creatine kinase, CK) in clinical trials. However, previous exercise protocols do not exactly simulate the real muscle demand required in sports. For this reason, the aim of this randomized and double-blind placebo-controlled trial was to investigate whether light-emitting diode therapy (LEDT) applied over the quadriceps femoris muscles, hamstrings, and triceps surae of volleyball players before official matches could prevent muscle damage (CK) with a dose response, establishing a therapeutic window. A professional male volleyball team (12 athletes) was enrolled in this study, and LEDT was applied before 4 matches during a national championship. LEDT used an array of 200 light-emitting diodes (LEDs) arranged in 25 clusters of 4 infrared LEDs (850 ± 20 nm; 130 mW) and 25 clusters of 4 red LEDs (630 ± 10 nm; 80 mW). Athletes were randomized to receive one of four different total doses over each muscle group in a double-blind protocol: 105 J (20 s), 210 J (40 s), 315 J (60 s), and placebo (no light for 30 s). CK in blood was assessed 1 h before and 24 h after each match. LEDT at 210 J avoided significant increases in CK (+10 %; P = 0.993) as well as 315 J (+31 %, P = 0.407). Placebo (0 J) allowed a significant increase in CK (+53 %; P = 0.012) as well as LEDT at 105 J (+59 %; P = 0.001). LEDT prevented significant increases of CK in blood in athletes when applied before official matches with a light dose response of 210-315 J, suggesting athletes might consider applying LEDT before competition.