A recent study from the OSTRC revealed that the overall risk of acute match injury in Norwegian male professional football increased by 49% during the 6-season study period, although this increase was not fully consistent across teams.
||As part of a continuous prospective injury surveillance system, all injuries sustained were recorded by the medical staff in each club. The present study includes data from 2002 throughout the 2007 season.
Almost 500 000 hours of football activities and more than 2300 injuries were registered during this 6-year long study period.
An injury was registered if the player was unable to take fully part in football activity or match play at least one day beyond the day of injury. The player was considered injured until declared fit for full participation in training and available for match selection by the medical staff. A member of the club medical staff, in most cases the physiotherapist, performed the prospective injury registration.
Almost 50% increased match injury risk over time
The overall incidence of acute match injuries was 15.9 per 1 000 h (95% CI: 14.9 to 16.8), whereas the incidence of acute injuries during football training and other training was 1.9 (95% CI: 1.7 to 2.0) and 0.5 (95% CI: 0.3 to 0.6), respectively.
These figures correspond to an estimated total increase in match injury risk of 49% over the 6-year observation period. The researchers did not detect any change in the risk of training or overuse injuries or any difference between the preseason and competitive season.
Why do we see this trend?
This question still remains unanswered. Video analysis of high-risk injury situations and recorded injuries are needed to establish whether the increased risk of match injuries is the result of lax rule enforcement or more foul play.
This study was conducted by MD and PhD student John Bjørneboe, Roald Bahr and Thor Einar Andersen.
Download the paper in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine in Science and Sports.