Hawkins and Fuller (1998) report that 5-10% of all football injuries occur in goalkeepers. They were however not significant different from other playing positions. Andersen et al (2004) found a relative risk of 0.4 for goalkeeper injuries. This was considerable lower than for other playing positions. None of the present studies have distinguished between goalkeepers and other playing positions while investigating incidence, severity and characteristics of football injuries. This is surprising, considering that the goalkeeper has a specialized role in the game of football.
The goalkeeper has an important role in defense play and is crucial for the team. Goalkeepers often have specialized training regimes and professional clubs have their own goalkeeper coach. Goalkeepers have other assignments during the game than other players and goalkeepers may directly influence the outcome of the match more often than other players. Due to this difference in assignments between goalkeeping and other playing positions, it is reasonable to guess that high risk situations and injury characteristics differ from each other.
Thus, the purpose of this study is to explore incidence and severity of injuries in elite male goalkeepers. Further, the study will describe injury characteristics and high risk situations for goalkeepers during one competitive season in Norwegian professional football league (Tippeligaen).
In this one-season (30th of March – 9th of November) cohort study, we will prospectively register injuries and videos. Subjects included are elite male goalkeepers with A-squad contract in Tippeligaen and Adeccoligaen.
Injury registration is completed using standardized forms and includes injury characteristics such as localization, severity and situation description (Fuller et al, 2006). Injury registration includes injuries from both training and matches (league, cup, e-cup and friendly matches). The goalkeeper is responsible for completing the injury registration and registration of daily exposure time from training and matches. Subjects will be followed up by telephone or e-mail throughout the season. Videos from Tippeligaen will be collected in cooperation with TV2 Norway and used for video analysis. The purpose of the video analysis is to describe acute injury situations and explore general goalkeeper activity, such as number of ball contacts, distributions and duels. Injury registration and video analysis will be cross-referenced.
This study will provide increased knowledge due to injury occurrence and high risk situations in male elite goalkeepers and goalkeeping actions. Increased understanding of goalkeeper injuries may form the basis for preventive strategies such as new training strategies or increased awareness of injury and high risk situation among goalkeepers and referees.