Risk for injury when playing in a national football team

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2004 Feb;14(1):34-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2003.00330.x.


The Swedish male senior national football team was followed prospectively between 1991 and 1997. During these 6 years, the team played 73 official matches and had three training camps. The senior author (J. E.) attended 57 of these matches and the three training camps and these matches and training camps, are included in the present study. Exposure to football was recorded individually for each player. The team physician examined all injuries. Total exposure was 7245 h (6235 training and 1010 match hours) and there were 71 injuries (40 training and 31 match injuries). Five (16%) of the match injuries were major, with more than 4 weeks of absence from football. The injury incidence during training was 6.5/1000 h and the injury risk during matchplay was 30.3/1000 h. A significantly higher injury incidence was found for matches lost compared to matches won or drawn (52.5 vs. 22.7/1000 h, P=0.026). No statistically significant difference for injury was found between competitive matches and friendly matches. No difference was found between home and away matches or matches on neutral ground. The risk for injury when playing in a national team compares with previously reported figures for professional football at a high level.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / epidemiology
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rupture / epidemiology
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Sweden / epidemiology