Injury in community-level soccer: development of an injury surveillance system

Am J Sports Med. 2010 Dec;38(12):2542-51. doi: 10.1177/0363546510377415. Epub 2010 Sep 16.


Background: Few descriptive epidemiologic studies of injury in soccer are of community-level players. Although many sports injury surveillance systems have been described in the scientific literature, only 1 has been implemented in community-level soccer and that was restricted to adolescent players in a single club.

Purpose: The objective of this study was to develop a method for undertaking routine surveillance of injury in community-level soccer.

Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2.

Methods: A cohort of 880 community-level players aged 13 years and over was followed over 1 winter competitive season. Each week, each player was contacted by telephone and an interview conducted to collect data on participation in matches and training sessions, injuries, and adherence to injury prevention measures.

Results: Seventy-five percent (n = 510) of the cohort was male and the median age was 16 years. Data were collected on 11 268 player-matches totaling 13 483 player-match hours and 11 540 player-training sessions totaling 16 031 player-training hours. A total of 677 match injury events were reported, giving overall incidence rates of 50.2 injury events per 1000 player-match hours and 6.0 injury events per 100 player-matches. The incidence rate for match injury events was significantly higher for females than for males (63.9 vs 46.9). A total of 145 training injury events were reported, giving overall incidence rates of 9.0 injury events per 1000 player-training hours and 1.3 injury events per 100 player-training sessions. The most common injuries were sprains and strains of the lower limb, and tackling was the most common cause of injury.

Conclusion: This study has shown that routine injury surveillance, using a cohort design with exposure measurement, can be successfully implemented in community-level soccer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Community Health Services*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Education
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Program Development*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult