Risk factors for injury in high school football players

Am J Sports Med. Nov-Dec 2003;31(6):974-80. doi: 10.1177/03635465030310063801.


Background: Many studies have reported the frequency and types of injuries in high school football players. However, few have assessed the relationship between player characteristics and risk of injury.

Purpose: To describe the epidemiologic characteristics of and risk factors for injury in high school football players and to determine whether players' characteristics could be used to predict subsequent injury.

Study design: Prospective cohort study.

Methods: This study was part of a 2-year prospective investigation (1998 to 1999) of risk factors for injury in 717 (343 in the 1998 season and 374 in the 1999 season) high school football players in the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, School District. Player characteristics (playing experience, position, injury history) and physical parameters (body mass index, weight, height, grip strength) were measured at the beginning of each season. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine whether any of the baseline variables were associated with the odds of subsequent injury.

Results: The physical characteristics of players, such as body mass index and strength, were not associated with risk of injury. More playing experience and a history of injury in the previous season were significantly related to increased risk. Linemen were at the highest risk of injury, particularly knee injuries and season-ending injuries.

Conclusions: Future research should focus on decreasing the risk of injury to linemen.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Football / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Oklahoma / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors