Preventing ACL injuries with the FIFA 11+ program

FIFA 11+ is an ACL injury prevention program designed to be performed by players prior to training and competitive games. Players and teams can reduce their rate of ACL injury using a series of simple warm up exercises.

Although designed for football players, it is applicable to most sports which require frequent pivoting activity, such as netball, and basketball. It can also be very useful for patients trying to avoid a re-injury to a successful ACL reconstruction, after graft healing has occurred, and the player has returned to training and play.

The exercises take around 20 minutes to perform, and involve

  • Running
  • Plyometrics (explosive exercises)
  • Strength
  • Balance

Many studies have confirmed the effectiveness of the FIFA 11+ program, showing significantly reduced injury rates of around 45% and decreased time lost to injury by 30% in competitive soccer players. This benefit has not only been observed in adults, but also in children, in whom ACL rupture has serious consequences.

The program requires no special equipment, and can be implemented by coaches, physiotherapists, or by the player themselves. It involves plyometric exercises and drills that improve movement coordination, balance, and strength.  Specifics of the movements themselves can be found on the 11+ manual, and there is a download link below.

Most sporting teams, their team physiotherapist and doctors should be incorporating these simple exercises into their warm-up regime. ACL injury prevention has a benefit not only to the individual player, but also to the team with fewer players lost to injury.

This regime can also help in I advise my patients to adopt these exercises after around 6 months following their ACL reconstruction, in order to prevent a new injury to the ACL graft.

The full PDF manual can be downloaded here.

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