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Do exercise-based prevention programmes reduce non-contact musculoskeletal injuries in football (soccer)? A systematic review and meta-analysis with 13,355 athletes and more than 1 million exposure hours [with consumer summary]
Lemes IR, Pinto RZ, Lage VN, Roch BAB, Verhagen E, Bolling C, Aquino CF, Fonseca ST, Souza TR
British Journal of Sports Medicine 2021 Oct;55(20):1170-1178
systematic review

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this systematic review was to investigate the effect of exercise-based programmes in the prevention of non-contact musculoskeletal injuries among football players in comparison to a control group. DESIGN: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. DATA SOURCES: Medline, Embase, CENTRAL, CINAHL, PEDro and SPORTDiscus databases were searched from the earliest record to January 2021. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: Studies were eligible if they (1) included football players aged 13 years or older, (2) used exercise-based programmes as intervention, (3) presented the number of non-contact musculoskeletal injuries (ie, defined as any acute sudden onset musculoskeletal injury that occurred without physical contact) and exposure hours for each group, and (4) had a control group (eg, usual training, minimal intervention, education). All types of exercise-based prevention programmes were eligible for inclusion. Risk of bias for each included study and overall quality of evidence for the meta-analysis were assessed. RESULTS: Ten original randomised controlled trials with 13,355 football players and 1,062,711 hours of exposure were selected. Pooled injury risk ratio showed very low-quality evidence that exercise-based prevention programmes reduced the risk of non-contact musculoskeletal injuries by 23% (0.77 (95% CI 0.61 to 0.97)) compared with a control group. CONCLUSION: Exercise-based prevention programmes may reduce the risk of non-contact musculoskeletal injuries by 23% among football players. Future high-quality trials are still needed to clarify the role of exercise-based programmes in preventing non-contact musculoskeletal injuries among football players. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42020173017.
Reproduced with permission from the BMJ Publishing Group.

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