Floorball is the second most popular ball game in Finland in terms of the number of players. This fast-paced sport involves quick stop/start actions and movement in different directions. Therefore it is no wonder that the players suffer knee and ankle injuries. The possibility to prevent floorball injuries has not been studied previously.
The aim of this study was to investigate how frequently floorball injuries occur and how neuromuscular warm-up exercises impact on the occurrence of lower limb injuries.
The epidemiology of injuries was investigated first, after which an intervention study regarding the prevention of floorball injuries was conducted. The randomized controlled intervention study investigated the prevention of floorball injuries among top-level female players. The study was conducted between 2004–2011 and a total of 28 teams (n=456) from the three highest national leagues took part in the study.
In the autumn of 2005, the teams were randomly assigned to two groups: intervention group and control group (14/14 teams). The intervention group performed warm-up exercises 1–3 times a week for six months. The warm-up program included running technique, balance, plyometric and muscle strength exercises with the aim of improving the players’ body control and sport-specific motor skills and preparing the body for floorball training and matches. One warm-up session lasted 20–30 minutes. The control group teams kept on training as before.
The study showed that a warm-up program that improves motor skills and body control reduces lower limb injuries in floorball players significantly. The exercises were performed as part of the players’ warm-up. During the monitoring period, the intervention group suffered 66 percent less injuries than the control group.
The results showed that lower limb injuries and particularly non-contact knee and ankle injuries are common among female floorball players. The results are especially important in practice because knee and ankle injuries are also common in many other sports. Therefore regular exercises to improve body control and motor skills should be part of a player’s training program all year round.
Kati Pasanen PT, PhD (primary investigator)
Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre
University of Calgary, Canada
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Last updated: 3.7.2023