Playing again after hamstring injury in amateur soccer players: Expert opinions on return to play criteria
Hoef, P.A. van de
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Aim Recurrent hamstring injuries are a major problem in soccer. One of the reasons for the high recurrent rate could be found in returning to group training to early. Therefore the aim of this study is: 1. To create a list of criteria which should be met by amateur soccer players before they can return to play after a hamstring injury and 2. To explore how these criteria can be measured according to experts in the field of hamstring injuries. Methods A qualitative approach is chosen. Semi-structured interviews are performed in three categories of participants: sports physicians, sports physical therapists and soccer players who had a hamstring injury in the past season. After interviewing qualitative data-analysis were performed. Results A list of 25 criteria and 20 measurement tools is conducted from 12 interviews and divided in seven overarching themes. Four themes concern RTP criteria 1. Primary conditions, 2. Sport specific and functional movement, 3. Staged rehabilitation, 4. Other factors. The other three themes concern measurement tools: 1. Passive tests, 2. Active tests and 3. sport specific tests. Conclusion A soccer player may not have any strength deficits, no joint mobility deficits and must finish a gradually increased rehabilitation protocol which is focused on sport- specific demands. After that, he can gradually increase group training time before participating in a complete group training. Further research needs to be done to develop a toolkit with cut-off points to determine if a player is ready to RTP. Clinical Relevance This study provides clinicians an overview of which criteria should be met by a soccer player before he is ready to return to play. When a toolkit and cut-off points are developed, a decrease in hamstring injury reoccurrence should be the result.