Risk factor analysis for injuries in football players. Possibilities for a prevention program

Am J Sports Med. 2000;28(5 Suppl):S69-74. doi: 10.1177/28.suppl_5.s-69.


Review of the literature shows that information concerning risk factors for football injuries is incomplete and partly contradictory. The aim of this study was to analyze the influence of medical history, physical findings, football skills, and football performance, as well as psychosocial characteristics on the occurrence and severity of football injuries. The prospective outline of the study was as follows: after a baseline examination was performed to ascertain possible predictors of injury, all players were followed up weekly for 1 year to register subsequent injuries and complaints. Two hundred sixty-four of 398 players (67%) had complete weekly follow-ups over 1 year. A majority of the players (N = 216; 82%) were injured during the observation period. In comparing injured and uninjured players, several differences were observed. To create a multidimensional predictor score for football injuries, 17 risk factors were selected. These risk factors covered a wide spectrum, such as previous injuries, acute complaints, inadequate rehabilitation, poor health awareness, high life-event stress, playing characteristics, poor reaction time, poor endurance, and insufficient preparation for games. By summing up the individual risk factors, a predictive sum was calculated for each player. The more risk factors present at the baseline examination, the higher the probability of that player incurring an injury in the ensuing year. Using two risk factors as the cut-off score, more than 80% of the players were correctly classified as to whether they went on to incur an injury. Based on these findings, knowledge from the literature, and practical experience, possibilities for a prevention program are suggested.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Football / injuries*
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Program Development
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Rehabilitation / standards*
  • Risk Factors
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Task Performance and Analysis