You've dribbled the ball past your opponent, you've outsmarted the opposition and now the path to goal is free. But something happens just before the ball lands in the net. Anyone taking part in an amateur football tournament these days runs the greatest injury risk of any sport. But it doesn't have to be that way: here are some prevention tips for you and your team.
Every fourth sports accident happens at a football match – around 45,000 every year, or every 11 minutes. Lack of training puts players at amateur tournaments at particular risk. Fortunately, for the most part, the injuries are not too serious – bruises, strains and sprains. They hurt, for sure, but they heal again quickly.
But serious consequences cannot be ruled out. It's normally the legs and feet that suffer the most during a football match. Around 50% of all injuries affect the lower limbs, the ankles and the knees. According to SUVA accident statistics, football injuries on average generated costs of CHF 200 million.
It would be easiest to use the Superstar from the Super Mario games and dribble around the pitch with immunity. Unfortunately that's not possible – and it wouldn't be in the spirit of fair play either. We've therefore teamed up with Rahel Sager, player and athletics trainer with FC Luzern Spitzenfussball Frauen, to bring you a few tips on how to prevent injuries:
Unfortunately good preparation and a great deal of experience at tournaments are still no guarantee of an injury-free game. And even minor tears can be ignored in the adrenaline rush.
A question often asked after tournaments is sore or torn muscle? In most cases, muscles stiffen up a few hours after the sporting activity, doing so rather gradually. However, cramp-like twinges during a sporting activity or when you do a particular exercise often indicate that there is a tear.
Although sore muscles per se are not a bad thing and do not leave any damage in the muscles once they've regenerated, a torn muscle or muscle fiber tear needs a lot longer to recover.
Heat and light exercise are the best way to deal with sore muscles. For example, a warm bath, a sauna or a warming balm as well as walking, jogging or cycling. However, if your muscles are very sore, it's best not to do anything for a while.
With a muscle injury, joint strain or torn ligament, it's best to follow the RICE rule:
Note: If your injury is very painful or doesn't improve after a few days, you should definitely consult a doctor.
Accidents at amateur tournaments are covered by compulsory accident insurance or compulsory health insurance. The number of hours you work a week determines what type of insurance applies.
If you're injured by another player, then depending on the circumstances, the guilty player's personal liability insurance applies. In assessing the damage, the fact that playing football involves a certain amount of risk is taken into account, meaning that your own insurance coverage is also affected.
If you work more than eight hours a week, you're insured by your employer against accidents and non-occupational accidents. Here compulsory accident insurance (AIA) covers medical costs and temporary loss of income. In particularly serious cases, you're entitled to a disability pension under the AIA.
The additional costs for a semi-private or private ward in hospital or rehabilitation are only covered if your employer has taken out supplementary insurance in addition to AIA (SAI) or if you yourself have private accident insurance.
If you're unemployed or you work less than eight hours a week, compulsory health insurance (HIA) covers the medical costs. In this instance, you're not covered for the bridging finance for potential loss of income following an accident. This has to be insured separately, such as through occupational disability insurance.
People officially registered as unemployed are automatically insured against accident and non-occupational accidents.
Anyone taking an unpaid break from work or in training can extend the insurance coverage in their current employment within 31 days for up to six months at low cost with interim accident insurance.
Are you hoping to take part in an amateur tournament in the next few weeks? Then you should start your training today at the latest. But always adjust your training to your basic condition: if you overdo things now, there's a danger that you'll be standing on the touchline at the tournament.
Also make sure that you use protective equipment and ideally play with shin pads and studded football boots before the tournament. This way, you can avoid getting blisters on your feet and you won't have to constantly adjust your shin pads on the day of the tournament.
And last but not least: be honest with yourself. Even if we'd all like to see ourselves as the next Megan Rapinoe or Lionel Messi, most of us lack a great deal, in other words the training and talent necessary to keep up with their footballing skills. Think about this when you're playing and don't overestimate yourself.
Would you like to take part in an amateur tournament? Visit the gruempi.ch for the latest dates.