Sport is part of our New Zealand lifestyle. With sport, football included, there is always an inherent risk of injury – from extremely minor to detrimental injuries. The Fit4Football programme, with the support of ACC SportSmart, supports football coaches, players, parents and clubs to minimise any potential risk or harm that could occur in playing sport at all levels – with the aim of making football fun and enjoyable for all.


We enable our players to achieve and grow, and our coaches and clubs to support them. This is done through reducing the risk or chance of injury, removing potentially injured or concussed players from training and games, supporting injured players in a graduated return to training (before games) and creating a thriving athlete environment.


As a coach, parent or player, we need to be aware of common and severe injuries, such as knee ligament and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, hamstring strains, ankle sprains and concussion injuries. Measures should be taken to prevent all injuries, plus prompt injury-management processes should be undertaken when an injury occurs, including seeking professional medical diagnosis, followed by an appropriate return to training and play protocol.

Reducing the Risks in Football

  • Coaches and clubs should implement an injury prevention philosophy and approach

  • Coaches, clubs, parents and players should minimise the risks or potential harm by learning and understanding injuries and injury-prevention programmes

  • Coaches and clubs should undertake or adopt proven and validated injury-prevention programmes and measures, such as the 11+ in football

  • A player’s overall weekly training and game load should be monitored, considered and managed well

  • Correct and prompt, injury management should be undertaken from practice to the pitch, starting with recognising and removing any and all potential injuries, including concussion

  • Player injuries should be carefully managed, from immediate side-line first aid to medical diagnosis through to rehabilitation and returning to training (before play). Players prematurely returning to trainings and play are at an increased risk of re-injury. A common rule of thumb in side-line injury-management is RICED (rest, ice, compression, elevation and diagnosis) and to avoid HARM (heat, alcohol, running and massage)

  • Coaches and clubs should perform injury assessments

Learn more about concussion, how to manage injuries, and returning to play.