Background: Injury prevention in amateur soccer has been promoted in recent years, but only a few studies have addressed long-term changes in injury incidence in amateur soccer. However, better knowledge of changes with respect to injury incidences and causes could make an important contribution to improving prevention strategies.
Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the long-term development of injury incidence in Swiss amateur soccer with respect to level of play, injury causes and injury characteristics.
Methods: A representative sample of about 1000 Swiss amateur soccer coaches was interviewed by telephone in 2004, 2008 and 2015. They were asked to recall their last game and to report details on all injuries. For every injury, the coaches were asked to remember injury characteristics and causes. The same procedure was repeated for all games that took place during the previous 4 weeks. Additionally, all training injuries in the previous 4 weeks were recorded in detail.
Results: The incidence of game injuries decreased between the years 2004 and 2008 from 15.1 (95% confidence interval [CI] 14.2–16.0) to 13.3 (95% CI 12.4–14.2) injuries per 1000 hours, and increased between the years 2008 and 2015 to 16.5 (95% CI 15.5–17.4) injuries per 1000 hours. Between 2004 and 2015, the rate of contact injuries during games increased by 19.1%. The incidence of foul play injuries in games increased by 25.5% between 2008 and 2015. The rise in total training injury incidence between the years 2004 (2.4, 95% CI 2.2–2.7) and 2015 (2.9, 95% CI 2.6–3.1) was caused by a 22.2% higher rate of noncontact injuries. During the same period, game and training injury incidences increased across all amateur soccer leagues without exception, but these changes did not reach statistical significance. In 2015, the incidence of injuries leading to medical attention was higher than in 2004 (game 20.0%, training 37.5%).
Conclusion: There is evidence that injury incidence in Swiss amateur soccer has increased in past years.  .