Injuries in women's soccer: a 1-year all players prospective field study of the women's Bundesliga (German premier league)

Clin J Sport Med. 2010 Jul;20(4):264-71. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e3181e78e33.


Objective: To obtain precise information on injury patterns in the women's premier soccer league in Germany.

Design: One-year, prospective, epidemiologic cohort study.

Setting: Institutional level German Football Association.

Participants: All 254 players from all 12 women's premier league teams were included.

Interventions: Base information by standardized personal interviews. Evaluation of all injury-associated medical data transmitted by standardized documentation forms.

Assessment of risk factors: Injuries incidence rates (average, 95% confidence intervals) based on the exposure in matches and at practice.

Main outcome measures: All time loss diagnoses, number and context of injuries related to their anatomical localization, severity, and rehabilitation period were recorded.

Results: All 254 players finished the study [average age, 22.8 years (16-35 years)]. Two hundred forty-six injuries amounted to an injury rate of 3.3 per 1000 hours (games, 18.5 per 1000 hours; practice, 1.4 per 1000 hours). Injury distribution: knee, 31.0%; ankle, 22.1%; thigh, 12.9%; and head, 7.1%. The seasonal peak was at the beginning of the competitive season. Injury rates doubled after the 60th minute. Twenty-nine percent of the injuries were severe, and 37% were moderate.

Conclusions: Female players suffer a high amount of head injuries and severe knee and ankle injuries. The most common single injury is a sprained ankle. Torn ligaments in the ankle and knee are the most common injuries that require a long recovery period. Most of the severe injuries (>30 days) are due to noncontact intrinsic mechanisms. Almost one-quarter of all injuries consist of exertion syndromes not yet correlated with certain seasonal periods.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Ligaments, Articular / injuries
  • Lower Extremity / injuries
  • Prospective Studies
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Sprains and Strains / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult