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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 June, 2004, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Injury warning for armchair fans
England supporter cartoon
Jubilant celebrations are a major cause of injury, the guide warns
While Sven coaches the England squad toward peak fitness for Euro 2004 it is physiotherapists who are looking out for the team's armchair supporters.

Adjust the television's angle and avoid leaping from the sofa in wild celebration is the advice from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists.

It has issued an injury survival guide to football clubs in an effort to stop ardent fans being stretchered off.

Those watching the pitch are as much at risk as the players on it, it warns.

Meanwhile fans are also being cautioned on the dangers of "voice abuse" during tournament matches.

Try to avoid sudden jerking movements which could give you a cricked neck
Fans' survival guide
Excessive shouting, singing and screaming could lead to serious long-term damage, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists said.

Chartered physiotherapist and leaflet author Sammy Margo said twice as many patients at her clinic are injured by sitting in awkward postures as by playing sport.

Her chief concern for Euro 2004 fans is the "lower back pain, muscle sprain and strain" risks involved in a sudden goal celebration after sitting still.

"What we need to do is set ourselves up correctly," she told BBC Radio Five Live. "Adjust the position of the television so that it's right in front of you.

Unnecessary 'lunging'

"Get our sofa or comfy chair sorted out so that you are relatively well supported - be it with placing a towel or pillow in the small of your back.

"In a situation when you can reasonably anticipate a goal, prepare your body by getting up off the sofa carefully so that you are already standing and then you can jump up and down, instead of springing off the sofa," she warned.

The leaflet recommends having food and drink supplies within arm's reach to avoid unnecessary "lunging".

England supporter cartoon
Avoid sudden jerking movements, physiotherapists advise
It deals with frustration: "When protesting about a bad tackle, resist the urge to flail your arms around. It is often safer to take a deep breath, stand up and stamp your foot.

And it advises on a standing posture for a penalty shoot-out - "one of the riskiest situations a football fan will have to face".

"As each player walks up to the spot remind yourself that your suspense will either turn to jubilation or frustration, so be prepared for all eventualities," it cautions.

Despite the good intentions, Ms Margo admits her advice may be drowned out in Euro 2004 euphoria.

"I know it's a little bit unrealistic," she said. "But just be aware, that by jumping off the sofa you may do yourself some damage."

Happy yelling is less likely to cause voice damage
Jayne Comins
Language therapist

Issuing their warning, language therapists said more patients attended clinics with hoarse or no voices after the 2002 World Cup.

In what could be a worrying turn for England supporters, they said yelling in anger, rather than in support, caused the most harm.

"Happy yelling is less likely to cause voice damage," said therapist Jayne Comins. "When you are angry and frustrated you tighten up and cause more injury."

To guard against voice damage, fans need to avoid long periods of overuse, drink water or juice and cut down on smoking, alcohol and caffeine, she said.

Sleep experts coach Euro squad
08 Jun 04  |  Manchester
England land in Portugal
07 Jun 04  |  England


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