Health & Spirit

Making kids soccer safer: Warmup is key

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

There's a soccer training camp called De Toekomst (The Future) where kids as young as 7 from around The Netherlands are brought, having been spotted as potential professionals. Now, Ajax, the Dutch soccer club that runs the camp, is "flying in their world-famous youth coaches, directly from their famed Academy in Amsterdam," to start training young American players (9-14) this summer in California.

That's way too early for specialization! But even when children play more than one sport and take time off from practices during the week, they can get hurt. In youth soccer, accidents mainly involve broken bones and injuries to upper extremities, say sports scientists who authored a new study published in the journal Sports Medicine. And they've also found how to dramatically reduce the youngsters' soccer injuries.

Working with 243 youth teams, the researchers used a 20-minute warm-up routine, called FIFA 11+ Kids. It consists of three exercises focused on the stability of the lower extremities (hopping, jumping and landing); three on whole body and trunk strength/stability; and one on falling technique. The difficulty levels increased with each kids' age (from 7 to 13) and maturity-related performance and differences in motor skills. After one soccer season, the overall injury rate of teams that followed the program was 48 percent lower than control groups, while the rate of severe injury fell by as much as 74 percent!

So if you have a junior Carli Lloyd or Yaya Toure, talk to the coach about doing this style of warmup before every game. Score!


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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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