ABSTRACT Context and Objective: Hamstring strain is a common injury in football and it causes a significant amount of time lost from competition and training. Since poor flexibility is thought to predispose to muscle strain, stretching is routinely recommended during warm-up routines by coaches to prevent injuries. However, available evidence suggests that pre-exercise stretching (PES), especially static stretching, has no benefit on injury rates and may even reduce performance in explosive type activities. We designed this study to assess the attitudes, beliefs and practices of football coaches regarding stretching in the prevention of hamstring strains. Design: A cross-sectional survey. Setting: Mauritius Football Association (MFA). Participants: 26 football coaches registered with the MFA. Intervention: Questionnaires were distributed to football coaches of the MFA via sports officers. Questionnaires were then collected two weeks after distribution. Main Outcome Measures: Attitudes, beliefs and practices of football coaches regarding stretching in the prevention of ham-string strains. Results: MFA coaches held generally positive attitudes and beliefs towards stretching. 88% of coaches felt that PES is beneficial and 93% believed that PES prevents hamstring strains. The majority of coaches recommended stretching after warming up (81%) and after the training session (93%). 76% of coaches also advised stretching outside the training sessions. 96% of coaches used static stretching to stretch the hamstrings. The hamstrings were stretched on average for 4 times at each training session and the mean duration of a static stretch was 12 seconds. Conclusions: Nearly all coaches believed that PES prevents hamstring strains although evidence is limited. Some of the coaches’ beliefs and practices were not in line with current recommendations. Coaches reported that their stretching practices would be most likely influenced by scientific research. Thus there is an urgent need to devise awareness and training programmes in this area.
Cite this paper
Chan, K. , M. Mahomoodally, F. and Veeren, R. (2012) Stretching in the prevention of hamstring strains: Attitudes, beliefs and current practices among football coaches in Mauritius. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2, 141-148. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2012.22021.
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