Differences in injury risk and characteristics between Dutch amateur and professional soccer players

J Sci Med Sport. 2015 Mar;18(2):145-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2014.02.004. Epub 2014 Feb 9.


Objectives: To compare the incidence and characteristics of injuries between Dutch amateur and professional male soccer players during one entire competition season.

Design: A prospective two-cohort design.

Methods: During the 2009-2010 season, 456 Dutch male amateur soccer players and 217 professional players were prospectively followed. Information on injuries and individual exposure to all soccer activities were recorded in both cohorts. Injuries were recorded using the time-loss definition.

Results: In total, 424 injuries were recorded among 274 of the amateur players (60.1% injured players) and 286 injuries were sustained by 136 (62.7% injured players) of the professional players (p=0.52). Compared to the professionals, the injury incidence during training sessions was higher among amateurs (p=0.01), but the injury incidence among professionals was higher during matches (p<0.001). Professional players also had a higher incidence of minimal injuries (p<0.001), whereas the incidence of moderate and severe injuries was higher for amateurs (all p<0.001). Lastly, professional players sustained more overuse injuries (p=0.02), whereas amateurs reported more recurrent injuries (p<0.001).

Conclusions: The above-mentioned differences in injury rates between amateur and professional players in the Netherlands might be explained by the difference in the level at which they play, since factors like the availability of medical support and/or the team size may influence the injury risk and characteristics.

Keywords: Amateur; Epidemiology; Football; Injury incidence; Professional; Soccer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletes / statistics & numerical data*
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Young Adult