Football facts and tips

Football is one of the world’s most popular sports and still growing!

According to the Nielsen survey conducted in 2017, 43 % of people were interested in football with more than 4 out of 10 people considering themselves football fans. Basketball is second with 36% interest.

In the last Big Count survey done by FIFA in 2006, 270 million registered players, including men, women and referees, are actively involved in the sport. Although the sport is predominantly male, more and more women are joining the leagues with 38 million female players worldwide. In addition to this, the estimated unregistered players i.e. the occasional social players or weekend warriors add up to 226 million people. This group is mostly male with only 10 % being female.

The future of football looks promising with youngsters (under 18) making up the largest portion of registered players with 54.7% of all registered male players and as many as 69.6% of the women being youth players. The high number of female youth players is a reflexion of the growing interest in women’s football.

So if you are actively involved in football, here are some tips and fun facts from Sports Medicine Australia:

  • More than 1 in 20 soccer injuries are caused by celebrating goals on the pitch
  • On average, soccer players run as far as 9.5 miles in a single match
  • The rate of injury for football players is up to 35 injuries per 1,000 playing hours
  • More injuries occur during games than training.
  • Up to 35% of injuries are caused by foul play.
  • The most common types of injuries are bruising, sprains, strains, fractures and dislocations.
  • Injuries to the lower body, namely the ankle and knee, to the upper body and head are most common.
  • Common causes of injuries are player contact, falls and tackles.

Factors increasing your injury risk

  • Previous injury.
  • Age.
  • Joint instability and pain.
  • Poor physical conditioning.
  • Inadequate rehabilitation.
  • Exercise overload.
  • Poor football skills.
  • Amount and quality of training.
  • Playing field conditions.
  • Not wearing protective equipment.
  • Rule violations.
  • Inferior floodlighting for training purposes.
  • Safety tips for football

Good preparation is important

Always warm up, stretch and cool down.

  • Undertake training prior to competition to ensure readiness to play.
  • Undertake fitness programs to develop endurance, strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.
  • Gradually increase intensity and duration of training.
  • Know the rules and play fairly.
  • Instruction on correct kicking, heading and tackling techniques must be available and reinforced.
  • Coaches should undertake regular reaccreditation and education to ensure their knowledge is kept up-to-date.
  • Officials should enforce game rules.

Other safety tips

  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Wear the right protective equipment
  • Wear a mouthguard, preferably custom-fitted, always.
  • Wear shock absorbent shin guards always. Seek professional advice on the correct fitting of shin guards.
  • Consider preventive ankle taping or bracing to reduce risk of injury. Seek professional advice on footwear
  • Drink water before, during and after play.
  • Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen when playing outdoors.
  • Do NOT play in extreme heat, wet or slippery conditions.
  • If an injury occurs
  • Injured or bleeding players should be removed from the pitch immediately.
  • Injured players should seek prompt attention from qualified first aid personnel.
  • Ensure players are fully rehabilitated before returning to play.
  • An ankle brace should be worn for at least three months after serious ankle injury.

Resources:

  1. Sports medicine Australia
  2. The Nielsen World Football Reports 
  3. The FIFA Big Count Survey 2006

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