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.