Epidemiology of injury in English Professional Football players: A cohort study

Phys Ther Sport. 2019 Jan;35:18-22. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2018.10.011. Epub 2018 Oct 29.


Objective: To estimate the current incidence and location of injury in English professional football.

Design: Prospective cohort study conducted over one competitive season (2015/16).

Setting: Professional football players competing in the English Football League and National Conference.

Participants: 243 players from 10 squads (24.3 ± 4.21 per squad).

Main outcome measure: Injury incidence, training and match exposure were collected in accordance with the international consensus statement on football injury epidemiology.

Results: 473 injuries were reported. The estimated incidence of injury was, 9.11 injuries/1000 h of football related activity. There was a higher incidence of injury during match play (24.29/1000 h) compared to training (6.84/1000 h). The thigh was the most common site of injury (31.7%), muscle strains accounted for 41.2% of all injuries. The hamstrings were the most frequently strained muscle group, accounting for 39.5% of all muscle strains and 16.3% of all injuries. Moderate severity injuries (8-28 days) were the most common (44.2%).

Conclusions: Incidence of injury has increased over the last 16 years with muscle strains remaining the most prevalent injury. The hamstrings remain the most commonly injured muscle group.

Keywords: Audit; Epidemiology; Football; Injury; Muscle.

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • England
  • Hamstring Muscles / injuries
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Sprains and Strains / epidemiology