UVM research aims to reduce sports-related injuries

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) It's no secret that all sports can cause injuries. Doctors at the University of Vermont Medical Center are hoping the Green Mountain State can be a leader in preventing them.

"There's a lot of injuries in high school sports," said UVM Medical Center's Dr. Jimmy Slauterbeck. He has been working on a study for the past three years that looks at the effects of a warm up called the FIFA 11+ program. It takes 10 to 15 minutes and includes a variety of exercises, from running to doing things like squats with toe raises and vertical jumps. Vermont is the first location in the United States to test out the program

"It should be a major concern of all of sports medicine professionals and high school principals and athletic directors to really look at ways to decrease injuries," Slauterbeck said.

"It was a dramatic change. I mean, these were all soccer and movement warm ups that we were getting into and we had done anything like that for football," said Neil Brodeur, the atheltic director and head football coach at Rice Memorial High School. He says while it took his athletes some getting used to, he is pleased with the results.

Out of 4,000 athletes across 14 schools and various sports, there were a total of 400 injuries split about evenly among those who did the FIFA 11+ program and those who did their usual warm up -- 40 of those were season-ending injuries.

"I think it did make a difference. We found that the FIFA 11+ program tended to have more minimal injuries and the program that did their own warm upd had more mild, moderate and severe injuries," Slauterbeck said.

And for Brodeur, that's a win for his team, on and off the field. "We wanted to eliminate a lot of injuries where kids cut and there's no contact whatsoever and that's what we've really seen a reduction in, you know, ankles and knees,"

The study isn't fully completed just yet. Dr. Slauterbeck says the final results should be out by this summer.