Different injury pattern in goalkeepers compared to field players: a three-year epidemiological study of professional football

J Sci Med Sport. 2014 Jan;17(1):34-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2013.05.004. Epub 2013 Jun 14.


Objectives: Goalkeepers have a specific physiological and biomechanical profile including hip loading with increased frontal plane kinetics and explosive side jumps. The aim of this study is to analyze the injury incidence in professional goalkeepers and to compare this with field players.

Design: Descriptive Epidemiology Study.

Methods: Prospective (3 seasons, 2008-2011) registration of injuries and exposure of first division professional footballers of Qatar.

Results: Of the 527 players, 49 were goalkeepers. Sixty-seven injuries occurred during 17.858 h of exposure. Goalkeepers had a lower total (p=0.01) and training (p=0.007) injury incidence than field players, while there was no injury difference during matches (p=0.279). Moreover, goalkeepers presented a lower incidence of injuries that were: non contact (p=0.002), traumatic (p<0.001), strains (p<0.001), thigh (p<0.001), and hamstring (p=0.038). Adductor strains were the most common subtype of injury for goalkeepers and this incidence was higher in goalkeepers than in field players (p=0.045). In goalkeepers, mean lay off time for adductor strains was 2.5 times longer than for hamstring strains. More than one third of the overuse injuries were hip and groin injuries. While the overall and lower body injury incidence in goalkeepers was lesser than in field players, upper body incidence was higher.

Conclusions: Football goalkeepers have a peculiar injury epidemiology, possibly due to their specific physiological and biomechanical performance requirements. Goalkeepers are prone to acute adductor and overuse hip and groin injuries, while muscle strains, in particular located in the hamstrings, are lower compared with field players. Specific prevention program should be implemented in this category of footballers.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Football; Goalkeepers; Groin; Incidence; Injury.

Publication types

  • Retracted Publication

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Qatar / epidemiology
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Young Adult