Health and performance management in elite soccer

Project details

Research objective

The main topic of this long-term cooperation with the soccer club of Bayer 04 Leverkusen is health and performance management of youth- and elite soccer players. Quantification and management of the player’s individual physiological load and the implementation of evidence- based training- and recovery recommendations are key points in this project, in order to achieve improvements in physiological capacity, avoid injuries and generate individual physiological profiles of each athlete.

Research method

This research project involves different areas, like fitness and load management, match analysis and knowledge management. For example the physical fitness of the professional team, U19 and U17 youth squads as well as the women’s team is tested at several time points throughout each season and its preparation. The test battery involves several protocols to analyze the player´s endurance, strength, agility, balance or jumping height. Results are used to give individual training recommendations and to document the individual development of each player. The physical load throughout the season is analyzed using new point-of-care-testing devices, to detect biomarkers, for example related to muscle damage, inflammation or increased risk of infections. Small blood and saliva samples are taken weekly or even daily to generate individual profiles of each player and to monitor the training status of the team. Furthermore, the aggregation of international research is used to optimize training with special interventions like high-intensity-training or hypoxia and to manage recovery with different strategies like whole-body-cryotherapy or cold-water-immersion.
Short titleSoccer
Effective start/end date01.01.1130.06.19