Perceptions of football players regarding injury risk factors and prevention strategies

PLoS One. 2017 May 1;12(5):e0176829. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176829. eCollection 2017.


Current approaches regarding injury prevention focus on the transfer of evidence into daily practice. One promising approach is to influence attitudes and beliefs of players. The objective of this study was to record player's perceptions on injury prevention. A survey was performed among players of one German high-level football (soccer) club. 139 professional and youth players between age 13 and 35 years completed a standardized questionnaire (response rate = 98%). It included categories with (1) history of lower extremity injuries, (2) perceptions regarding risk factors and (3) regularly used prevention strategies. The majority of players (84.2%) had a previous injury. 47.5% of respondents believe that contact with other players is a risk factor, followed by fatigue (38.1%) and environmental factors (25.9%). The relevance of previous injuries as a risk factor is differently perceived between injured (25%) and uninjured players (0.0%). Nearly all players (91.5%) perform stretching to prevent injuries, followed by neuromuscular warm up exercises (54.0%). Taping is used by 40.2% of previously injured players and 13.6% of players without a history of injuries. In conclusion, the perception of risk factors and performed preventive strategies are inconsistent with scientific evidence. Future transfer strategies should incorporate the players beliefs and attitudes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletes / psychology
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Athletic Injuries / psychology*
  • Athletic Tape
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environment
  • Fatigue / complications
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / injuries*
  • Muscle Stretching Exercises
  • Perception
  • Risk Factors
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Soccer / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this work.