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ACL injury prevention programs in soccer enhance performance

The World Cup in Russia has started, and soccer will once again be on the world’s stage. Injuries are likely to occur and their impact on the game will be a large part of the conversation. Soccer players at any level are subject to the same type of injuries.  One of the most common and devastating injuries for an athlete is an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

TRIA physical therapist, Jenn Lee, shares some information about risk factors and the rehabilitation process for ACL injuries.

Risk Factors

ACL injuries are common in soccer. More so than most other sports. Some soccer athletes are at a higher risk for an ACL injury. Those athletes include:

  • Those with a past history of ACL injury
  • Young females
  • Athletes with current or past history of patellofemoral joint pain (pain associated with dysfunction of the knee cap)
  • Those with a family history of ACL injury (mother or father)
  • Those experiencing hormonal changes or going through a growth spurt


ACL injuries often require surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation program. Neither of which guarantees the athlete will return to their previous level of performance.

In many cases, ACL injuries are preventable. Research tells us that 50 to 70 percent of ACL injuries can be prevented with injury prevention programs, like the FIFA 11+.

As much as 75 percent of ACL injuries occur from a non-contact interaction. This shows that irregular movement patterns are the largest cause of these injuries.  That is why ACL prevention programs are so important. 

ACL prevention program are designed to improve strength, flexibility, control, balance and coordination. The FIFA 11+ is designed as warm-up and recommended to be included into practice and before game play.

Performance Improvement

Another reason an athlete may want to include an ACL prevention program into their training is to enhance performance. Here are a few reasons how injury prevention training enhances performance:

  • Increasing an athlete’s efficiency by improving cutting, changing direction, jumping and landing mechanics.
  • Improvement in strength and power.
  • Improvement in mobility, flexibility and balance. These help maximize performance and efficiency, including an athlete’s presence on the field and ability to sustain contact.
  • Fewer injuries lead to better team organization and less interruption in team dynamics throughout the season.
  • When an athlete is injured there is little to no performance enhancement happening. This prevents an athlete from continuing to progress. And causes them to fall behind compared to the level of their teammates.

For more information about visit the Return to Soccer Program webpage or call 952-806-5616 to schedule a soccer evaluation.

Our orthopedic urgent cares in Bloomington, Maple Grove and Woodbury are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. We provide walk-in care for athletes of all ages and abilities. No appointment needed! Our physicians, physical therapists and athletic trainers are here to help you get back on field.

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