The aim was to examine the injuries sustained by Spanish football players in the First Division and to compare injury-related variables in the context of both competition and training. The injury data were prospectively collected from 16 teams (427 players) using a specific web-based survey during the 2008/2009 season. A total of 1293 injuries were identified (145 were recurring injuries). The overall injury incidence was 5.65 injuries per 1000 h of exposure. Injuries were much more common during competition than during training (43.53 vs. 3.55 injuries per 1000 h of exposure, P < 0.05). Most of the injuries (89.6%) involved the lower extremities, and overuse (65.7%) was the main cause. Muscle and tendon injuries were the most common types of injury (53.8%) among the players. The incidence of training injuries was greater during the pre-season and tended to decrease throughout the season, while the incidence of competition injuries increased throughout the season (all P < 0.05). In conclusion, the results of this study suggest the need for injury prevention protocols in the First Division of the Spanish Football League to reduce the number of overuse injuries in the muscles and tendons in the lower extremities. In addition, special attention should be paid during the pre-season and the competitive phase II (the last four months of the season) in order to prevent training and competition injuries, respectively.
Keywords: football association; injury exposure; injury incidence; men; professional football.