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, 47 (12), 782-8

Injury Surveillance in the World Football Tournaments 1998-2012

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Injury Surveillance in the World Football Tournaments 1998-2012

Astrid Junge et al. Br J Sports Med.

Abstract

Background: International sports bodies should protect the health of their athletes, and injury surveillance is an important pre-requisite for injury prevention. The Fédération International de Football Association (FIFA) has systematically surveyed all football injuries in their tournaments since 1998.

Aims: Analysis of the incidence, characteristics and changes of football injury during international top-level tournaments 1998-2012.

Methods: All newly incurred football injuries during the FIFA tournaments and the Olympic Games were reported by the team physicians on a standardised injury report form after each match. The average response rate was 92%.

Results: A total of 3944 injuries were reported from 1546 matches, equivalent to 2.6 injuries per match. The majority of injuries (80%) was caused by contact with another player, compared with 47% of contact injuries by foul play. The most frequently injured body parts were the ankle (19%), lower leg (16%) and head/neck (15%). Contusions (55%) were the most common type of injury, followed by sprains (17%) and strains (10%). On average, 1.1 injuries per match were expected to result in absence from a match or training. The incidence of time-loss injuries was highest in the FIFA World Cups and lowest in the FIFA U17 Women's World Cups. The injury rates in the various types of FIFA World Cups had different trends over the past 14 years.

Conclusions: Changes in the incidence of injuries in top-level tournaments might be influenced by the playing style, refereeing, extent and intensity of match play. Strict application of the Laws of the Games is an important means of injury prevention.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Injury Prevention; Soccer; Sporting injuries.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Injuries per match (black bars: all injuries; grey bars: time-loss injuries) in different top-level football tournaments of male players (WC, FIFA World Cup; OG, Olympic Games; U20, FIFA U20 World Cup; U17, FIFA U17 World Cup; CFC, FIFA Confederations Cup; CWC, Club World Cup).
Figure 2
Figure 2
Injuries per match (black bars: all injuries; grey bars: time-loss injuries) in different top-level football tournaments of female players (WC, FIFA Women's World Cup; OG, Olympic Games; U19, FIFA U19 Women's World Cup; U20, FIFA U20 Women's World Cup; U17, FIFA U17 Women's World Cup).
Figure 3
Figure 3
Injuries per match (dark grey, non-contact; light grey, contact) in the FIFA World Cups for male and female players (WC, FIFA World Cup; WWC, FIFA Women’s World Cup) with regard to injury mechanism.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Number of head injuries in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cups 2002 (black bars), 2006 (dark grey bars) and 2010 (light grey bars).
Figure 5
Figure 5
Average number of yellow cards per match for female football players in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) tournament and the Olympic Games (data from http://www.FIFA.com).

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