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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!!!




GABORONE, Botswana – Following the request by Senior National Team Coach, Adel Amrouche for leave of absence to attend to a personal matter, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) wishes to inform the public that he has been granted the leave with immediate effect.

Since the COSAFA tournament is the last competitive tournament for the Zebras in the immediate future, the BFA amicably resolved to release Amrouche. The affairs of the National team in preparation for the tournament, set to take place in Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa from 7-18 July 2021 shall be handed over to Letang Kgengwenyane.

“The BFA understands and supports Mr. Amrouche’s situation and wishes him all the best in his future endeavours,” said BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Goabaone G. Taylor.

Amrouche took over as the Zebras head coach in August 2019 on a two-year deal. After weeks of engaging with the coach over his future, an agreement was reached not to extend his contract.

Adel Amrouche

“Amrouche has been Zebras head coach since August 2019, and his leadership during that time was important to our successful development and international exposure of our players,” added Taylor.

“We appreciate all that Amrouche has done to build a disciplined team. He has always had a thorough understanding of what it takes to be a successful team and has done his best to mentor his players accordingly,” concluded Taylor.

Amrouche has since expressed gratitude towards the BFA for the opportunity.
“I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity to lead the Zebras over the last two years. I leave having picked up quite a number of valuable lessons that will be necessary in the journey ahead. I wish the Zebras success in future competitions,” Amrouche said in statement recently.

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