Comparison of the ‘11+ Kids’ injury prevention programme
and a regular warm-up in children’s football (soccer): a cost effectiveness
analysis
Rössler R,
Verhagen E, Rommers N, Dvorak J, Junge A, Lichtenstein E, Donath L, Faude O. Br J Sports Med. 2018.
[Epub ahead
of print]
Take Home Message: Participation in the 11+ Kids program resulted in ~50% lower
healthcare costs compared with a usual youth soccer warm-up program.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/92/Youth-soccer-indiana.jpg/1600px-Youth-soccer-indiana.jpg
Injuries sustained during an athlete’s
youth can lead to health problems later in life (e.g., reduced physical
activity, early-onset osteoarthritis). Additionally, the economic burden of
these injuries is experienced individually and societally. Preventing injuries
in youth sports may promote better long-term health and reduce the financial
burden of an injury. However, more studies are needed to quantify the cost
effectiveness of injury prevention programs for young athletes. Therefore, the
authors completed an economic analysis to compare the cost-effectiveness of the
11+ Kids program with a typical warm-up routine among young soccer
athletes. The cost effectiveness analysis was based on data collected from a
cluster randomized trial, where coaches reported injuries that occurred over
the 2014/2015 soccer season. Sixty-two different teams were randomized into 2
groups: 11+ Kids and normal warm up). Six hundred and fourteen athletes
completed the 11+ Kids program and 388 completed the typical warm up (both
groups: ~11 years of age). The authors estimated costs as the sum of the healthcare
costs and the cost of performing the warm-ups (e.g., printed manuals,
instruction courses for coaches). The healthcare cost was derived by contacting
the parents of the injured children via telephone. Total healthcare cost was
then estimated with standardized medial fees according to the national medical
association. Out of pocket costs (e.g., braces, chiropractor) were estimated
based on various providers. Ninety-nine athletes sustained injuries (42 in 11+ Kids
program, 57 from typical warm up) and 53 were medically treated (62% were in
the normal warm up group). The cost per player in the 11+ Kids group was 16.28
(Swiss Francs; ~ $16.41 US dollars) and 39.40 (Swiss Francs) in the typical
warm up group. If scaled up, the 11+ Kids program would reduce healthcare costs
in Switzerland by 1.48 million Swiss Francs per year.
The authors found that the 11+ Kids
program reduced injuries and decreased cost per player by over 50%.
Additionally, these reports could be considered conservative since they did not
assess sideline resources (first aid, tape) nor previous injuries. These
findings as well as two others from Canada  (>$46 Canadian dollars savings per player per season) and the United
States ($100 savings per player per season) provide support for coaches to implement injury
prevention programs into their normal warm-up routine. These studies show
short-term cost savings. However, there may be long-term cost benefits of preventing
injures and helping these athletes be more likely to preserve a healthy active
lifestyle as they age. The 11+ Kids program is only 15 minutes and does not
require any special training or equipment. Currently, medical professionals
should assist and encourage coaches to implement injury prevention programs.
Questions for Discussion: Have you implemented a prevention program?
What were some barriers you had to overcome to effectively implement the
program and how did you overcome them?
Written by: Jane McDevitt
Reviewed by: Jeffrey Driban
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