Dec. 10, 2008 -- Researchers in Norway who looked at almost 2,000 female teenage soccer players say they have found that certain warm-up exercises can cut injuries by a third and reduce severe injuries by half. The exercises take 20 minutes and, in addition to slow and fast running, focus on balance, core stability, hip control and knee alignment.
The exercises are especially helpful for young women, who are five to eight times more likely than males to rupture their anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, while playing sports. Doctors don't know why women are at greater risk: It could be hormones, or that women's wider hips put more stress on the knee. But if it ruptures, an ACL tear can create complications that last a lifetime. Check out these exercises and the full study for more information.
A new study, published in the BMJ on Wednesday, offers insight into ways to keep young athletes from suffering injuries that can take them out of the game. Click here to see the full study.
Researchers maintain that simple adjustments in athletes' warm-ups can keep thousands in the game. Sixty-one Division I women's soccer teams have tested the program and report knee injuries dropped by more than 70 percent. The exercises incorporate core workouts, which provide stability to the body and give more power to the legs.
"Anywhere from eight to 10 years after the actual injury, there are early signs of degenerative arthritis," said Holly Silvers, researcher. "So, obviously we want to prevent the injuries but our greater goal is to prevent early onset of arthritis."
Click here to watch the exercises -- but a word of warning: Since the sudy took place in Norway, the exercise clip is in Norwegian.