A prospective video-based analysis of injury situations in elite male football: football incident analysis

Am J Sports Med. 2004 Sep;32(6):1459-65. doi: 10.1177/0363546504262973. Epub 2004 Jul 20.


Background: The mechanisms for football injuries are largely unknown.

Aim: To describe the characteristics of injury situations in elite male football using a video-based method called football incident analysis.

Study design: Prospective cohort study.

Methods: During the 1999 season, videotapes from 52 matches in the Icelandic elite football league were reviewed. Incidents (N = 95) were recorded when the match was interrupted by the referee because of a suspected injury. Team physical therapists recorded injuries prospectively (N = 28 time-loss injuries).

Results: Duels caused 84 of the incidents, mostly tackling duels (n = 54). The exposed player's attention appeared to be focused away from the opponent in 93% of the cases. The 3 main mechanisms observed were (1) breakdown attacks, tackling from the side or the front, attention focused on the ball (24%); (2) defensive tackling duels, attention focused on the ball or low ball control (20%); and (3) heading duels, attention focused on the ball in the air (13%).

Conclusion: Most incidents and injuries occurred during breakdown attacks and when a player was involved in tackling duels. Player attention appeared to be focused mainly on the ball, not on the opponent challenging him to gain ball possession.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology*
  • Attention
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Video Recording*