Sports Institute Northern Ireland (SINI) and Ulster GAA have unveiled an innovative warm-up programme designed to enhance performance and reduce injury.
The Activate GAA Warm-up has been adapted from FIFA’s successful 11+ programme to meet the specific needs of GAA sport and to reduce the incidence of common lower limb injuries among players, particularly Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL).
It will be launched officially at Ulster GAA’s annual coaching conference on Saturday 1st February, when Dr Mario Bizzini of FIFA’s Medical Research Centre will deliver the keynote speech. Activate will then be rolled out to clubs and counties across Ulster in 2014.
The Activate Warm-Up has been developed by SINI in conjunction with Ulster GAA coaches and an expert group of sports medicine professionals. It is based on solid medical research and, if performed regularly with proper technique, it can lead to a reduction in leg injuries by up to 50%.
Roger Keenan, Coaching Development Manager at Ulster GAA comments:
“Injury prevention is a massive priority for Ulster GAA and we see Activate as a vital part of our player welfare strategy. It’s a fantastic initiative that has come about as a result of a big demand within GAA circles for a warm-up that is consistent and uniform. The warm up will actually lead to better functional movement and a reduction in injury and it’s a great example of how Ulster GAA’s collaboration with SINI continues to deliver real benefits for our coaches and players.”
The initiative is supported by an online coaching resource, activategaa.sini.co.uk, featuring videos of players from all four GAA codes including Donegal’s All Ireland winning captain Michael Murphy and Armagh Ladies star Caroline O’Hanlon being coached through the routine.
Michael Murphy believes that the Activate Warm-Up will prove to be a vital intervention:
“The warm-up teaches players better functional movement and sprint mechanics and encourages good technique; it’s fantastic that Ulster GAA and SINI have had the vision to create it. I’d urge every club and county across Ulster to get in on this now and educate their players.”
Head of Sports Medicine at SINI, Prof. Phil Glasgow comments:
“This was a real collaborative effort between SINI, the Ulster Council and experienced medical and physiotherapy staff from the counties. We’ve trialled it with many coaches and they’re reporting really positive results. So, we’re confident Activate will help reduce the incidence of ACL injury and actually aid performance because it’s built around the key skills and movement patterns needed when playing Gaelic sport”.
Dr Mario Bizzini of the FIFA Medical Research Centre comments:
“Injury prevention warm ups have become a central part of sports practice and have been shown to effectively reduce injury. The Activate GAA Warm-up is an excellent example of a sport specific warm-up that will not only effectively prepare the players but also reduce common injuries“