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Return to Play Injury Risk Associations

Comptetitive football is associated with increased injury risk and in particular the risk of incurring an injury in a match is 7-fold higher than during training. Non-contact injuries are more common and mostly muscular injuries account for 30% of all the injuries. Examples are your hamstrings and quadricep injuries to name a few.

Having a prior injury places one at an increased risk either from a re-injury or abnormal technique contributing to an increased risk of sustaining one elsewhere in a related segment of the body or the kinetic chain.

The effects are potentiated after a long layoff from play either in the post-season period, an injury or the current state the COVID-19 imposed cessation of activities. The best practice has always conformed to a gradual build-up to training loads with periodization that entails a controlled overreaching program with rest over 6 weeks or more prior to engaging in any matches.

This is an evidence based practice that has further been substantiated by a recently published article by Ekstrand et al, in a UEFA prospective cohort study on male professional football players during 16 consecutive seasons
(2002-2019) which analyzed 4805 first match appearances after a period of ≥8 days absence most of which were due to moderate to server injuries.

Injury rate in the first match exposure after a return to play was 87% higher compared to the average seasonal match injury rate (46.9 vs 25.0/1000 hours). However the odds of injury dropped 7% with each training session before the first match for muscle injuries.

TAKE HOME: As the BFA Medical guided by scientific evidence we advocate for a gradual build up to increased intensities with adequate rest periods as depicted in the BFA Return to play for Football activities guideline.

Fewer trainings before the first match are associated with a high injury risk hence Match situations or friendly games are prescribed after a considerable amount of sport related training (at-least 6 weeks) to guard against the common non-contact injuries which in some cases may be catastrophic causing a long lay-off (e.g. ACL
ruptures) and in less resourced settings may be career ending either from a delayed operation or limited rehabilitation as demanded by the nature of the injury. Therfore Be safe, start slow build up!!!



BFA President Letshwiti urges regional FAs to become more professional

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) President, MacLean Letshwiti today (Friday) officially closed the 5-day FIFA approved and funded programme dubbed Administration and Management Course for the Gaborone City Regional Football Association, held under the theme ‘Operation Time for Change’ at Tlotlo Conference Centre in Gaborone.
A welcome and refreshing undertaking, the programme, which opened on Monday, April 12th – 16th, was intended to achieve a renewal in terms of how football is managed at all levels throughout the country, facilitated by FIFA instructor and consultant, Ashford Mamelodi of Mamelodi Consulting.
The objectives of the programme included the empowerment of leaders, both Regional Structures and Clubs, on the management of the game; engaging participants on the importance of Stakeholder management, as well as identifying for further training prospective national course instructors in Administration and Management, with a view that once qualified, they will continue to train up and coming Administrators in the Regions on football administration.

Ashford Mamelodi of Mamelodi Consultancy

In his remarks, the BFA President said the programme has seen more than 500 participants across the country benefiting at a cost over P4 million courtesy of football’s world governing body, FIFA.
“I am delighted to see that our regions participated in this programme with large numbers, and they have also shown willingness and strong commitment to learn fittingly. For us to run professional leagues, and independent regional associations, we must equip our personnel with the right courses that enable them to be professional and act along the FIFA standards and statutes. The BFA will under my leadership be a frontrunner in improving the standards of football both administratively and in the field,” said Letshwiti.
Letshwiti noted that Botswana was one of the first countries to benefit from the FIFA Operation Time for Change project, saying this goes to show the level of commitment the local FA has for the growth of the sport.

Gaborone Regional Football Association Chairperson Tsheko

The project, which was facilitated by FIFA instructor and consultant, Ashford Mamelodi of Mamelodi Consulting ranged from governance, technical, sponsorship, fan base management, financial management and competitions amongst others.
“There is a lot of hope as the Gaborone region is in the capital city where the headquarters are. I am also happy that the region now has an office, and this is where all the 49 teams in the Gaborone region can go get serviced. After this weeklong engagement, the region has assured me that they will bring about the much-needed change of how they have been running their matters including sub-constitution from the parent constitution to give the chairman powers to run the region professionally. This is the biggest investment the FA has made, and it has to be put into practice. If all the stakeholders can all pull in the same direction, the BFA can be one of the strongest FAs at FIFA level,” said Mamelodi in his closing remarks.
For his part, the Gaborone regional FA, Vice Chairperson, Thapelo Mothusi said as the region they are grateful for all the lessons learnt from the Operation Time for Change course. He said all club administrators have been fully equipped with critical lessons to implement at their various clubs.

BFA President Maclean Letshwiti

As it was the last day of the course, all participants were tasked with case studies to mimic real football situations, ranging from organizing the play-offs, youth tournaments and event management.
Meanwhile, The BFA Technical officer, Tshepo Mphukuthi further assured the delegates that in the upcoming football season, the CAF regulations will be intensified, and teams will have to have coaches with relevant coaching badges to be illegible to coach particularly at CAF competitions.

BFA acting TD Dr Carolin Braun and BFA Chief Protocol Officer Spencer Mmui

From Gaborone, the Operation Time for Change programme will head out to the Kgatleng Regional FA, from April 26th – 30th, and call it a wrap in Palapye from 10th – 14th May 2021 with the Central/North Regional FA (Serowe).

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