Background: Player activities in soccer matches are influenced by the match result and match venue. It is not known whether injury rates are influenced by these factors.
Purpose: To investigate whether there are associations between injury rates and the match result, venue, and type of competition in male soccer.
Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.
Methods: Twenty-six professional clubs from 10 countries were followed prospectively during 9 seasons (2001-2002 to 2009-2010). All matches, and injuries occurring in these matches, were registered by the team's medical staff. An injury was registered if it resulted in player absence from training or matches. Information about match result, venue, and type of competition for all reported matches was gathered by the authors from online databases. Injury rates in matches with varying match characteristics were compared by use of generalized estimating equations. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.
Results: A total of 2738 injuries during 6010 matches were registered. There were no associations between odds of 1 injury occurrence and match result or type of competition, whereas the odds were decreased in matches played away compared with home matches (OR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.80-0.99). The odds of 2 or more injury occurrences in a match were increased in matches resulting in a draw (OR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.15-1.69) or loss (OR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.38-1.98) compared with matches won and were decreased in other cup matches compared with league matches (OR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.39-0.84) and in matches played away compared with home matches (OR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.60-0.82). Finally, injuries with more than 1 week's absence occurred more frequently in Champions League matches compared with league matches both for matches with 1 injury (OR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.09-1.45) and matches with 2 or more injuries (OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.13-2.20).
Conclusion: The odds of 2 or more injury occurrences in professional soccer were higher in matches resulting in a loss or a draw compared with a win, whereas the odds of injury occurrences were lower in matches played away compared with home matches. The rate of moderate and severe injuries increased with the importance of the match.
Keywords: athletic injuries; competition; football; performance; risk factors.