Lunacy revisited - the myth of the full moon: are football injuries related to the lunar cycle?

Chronobiol Int. 2018 Sep;35(10):1385-1390. doi: 10.1080/07420528.2018.1483943. Epub 2018 Jun 6.


Previous literature suggests that human behaviour and physiology are somehow altered by the moon-cycle, with particular emphasis on poorer sleep quality and increased aggressive behaviour during full moon. The latter variables can negatively impact athletes' recovery and increase the likelihood of injury resulting from collision with another athlete. Therefore, the current study aimed to investigate the association between the lunar cycle and injury risk in professional football players (soccer). We monitored injuries and player exposure in the premier professional league in Qatar during four consecutive seasons (2013-2014 through 2016-2017). Acute (sudden-onset traumatic) injuries (n = 1184; 587 from contact with another player and 597 without player contact) recorded during matches and training were classified according to the lunar cycle characteristics on the date of injury: (i) moon illumination, (ii) lunar distance from earth and (iii) tidal coefficient, acquired from the lunar calendar and tide tables. We used a Poisson regression model to examine the relationship between injury risk and lunar cycle characteristics. We did not detect any association between injury risk and moon illumination, earth-to-moon distance or tidal coefficient, not for all acute injuries, nor for contact and non-contact injuries when examined separately. The findings suggest that the full moon or new moon or the gravitational pull have no effect on football injuries. Thus, organisers need not consult moon or tide tables when planning future event schedules.

Keywords: Geomagnetic fields; apogee; melatonin; performance; perigee; sleep loss.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Moon*
  • Periodicity*
  • Soccer / injuries*