Warm up program may prevent common soccer injuries

Emory Healthcare certified athletic trainer Joan Reed runs the Emory women's soccer team through a warm up she hopes can keep the players from getting hurt during their training. It's known as FIFA 11 +.

"And it incorporates everything they need, every kind of activity that they're going to use in a game," Reed says. "It preps the body and wakes everything up."

The program, which is based on the latest medical research, involves a series of 15 exercises designed to prevent lower extremity injuries that are common in soccer, like ankle and knee sprains. It's been successful for basketball and lacrosse athletes, too.

It takes about 20 minutes, and Reed says the research shows a science-based warm up like this can reduce injuries in young players by up to 40%, keeping them in the game.

"Especially FIFA 11+," She says. "It involves strengthening the important muscles for soccer. And it turns them on, almost activates them before you go train, the lower extremity muscles. It works on balance and proprioception. It works on flexibility.

Reed, who is also the head athletic trainer at Decatur High School outside of Atlanta, knows most younger teams don't have a dedicated athletic trainer. But, she says, coaches do have access to FIFA 11 +'s injury prevention protocol, at little or no cost to their program.

"That's part of what I'm doing out here, is trying to educate coaches and athletes," she says. "It doesn't necessarily have to be FIFA 11+, but have the components of that program."

If you have a young player, Reed says, ask questions.

"I would ask the coach if they do a warm up program, a cool down program," she says. "And just get an idea from the coach of the philosophy, are they out there to have fun or do they just focused on winning? Those are two very different ideas."

For more on the Emory Soccer Medicine Program, visit

For more on the FIFA 11 + and FIFA 11+ Kids programs, click here.