Load management and injury risk/protection

November 29, 2021

Load management and injury risk/protection


Load Management is something that is often spoken about in regards to injury management and rehab. 


In recent weeks images of Spanish footballer Pedri have been circulating highlighting the fact the 18 year old has played 63 games in the space of less than a year. Averaging 1 game every 4 days and 17 hours with more games still to come in the current olympics. 


What is it that makes some individuals able to train and push their bodies without damaging themselves or causing overload injury? Conversely, why do some athletes seem to become  injured with the slightest changes to load?


You can’t ignore some unmodifiable factors to answer the above questions. Genetics certainly play a big role in avoiding injury. Also undeniably some people might be luckier and fortunate enough to avoid injury. We don’t have control over these factors. Unfortunately in life you get what you’re given. 


There certainly are some factors that can account for peoples resilience to high training load. 

  1. Accumulation of training load: Pedri has been involved in professional Youth programs since the age of 15. Pedri has likely been playing multiple games per week for the good part of 4 years and is well adapted to this level of demand. Chances are if any recreational footballer tried to suddenly start playing this amount of games they would likely become injured. 
  2. Strong physical capacity: being involved in youth programs since such a young age has meant he has been exposed to professional strength and conditioning since the start of his career. This has allowed him to maintain a high level of capacity that has served to aid his resilience against injury. 


The main takeaway message from the above is that there certainly are some factors that can’t be controlled for when it comes to injury prevention. However some things can still be done to avoid injury. Mainly load management and a solid Strength and Conditioning plan to ensure you are capable of dealing with the demands of your sport.