Acute and overuse injuries among sports club members and non-members: the Finnish Health Promoting Sports Club (FHPSC) study

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2019 Jan 19;20(1):32. doi: 10.1186/s12891-019-2417-3.


Background: Physical activity in adolescence is promoted for its multi-dimensional health benefits. However, too intensive sports participation is associated with an increased injury risk. Our aim was to compare the occurrence of acute and overuse injuries in Finnish sports club members and non-members and to report training and competing habits associated with a higher injury risk in sports club members.

Methods: In this cross-sectional survey targeted at 14-16-year-old adolescents, a structured questionnaire was completed by 1077 sports club members and 812 non-members. The main outcome measures were self-reported acute and overuse injuries, their location and type.

Results: At least one acute injury in the past year was reported by 44.0% of sports club members and 19.8% of non-members (P < 0.001). The sex-adjusted odds ratio (OR) for acute injury in sports club members compared to non-members was 3.13 (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 2.54-3.87). Thirty-five percent of sports club members and 17.4% of non-members (P < 0.001) reported at least one overuse injury during the past year. The overuse injury OR for sports club members was 2.61 (95% CI 2.09-3.26). Sports club members who trained 7-14 h per week during training (OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.21-2.12, P = 0.001) or competition season (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.18-2.06, P = 0.002) were more likely to report an injury compared to members who trained 3-6 h per week. Those sports club members who participated in forty competitions or more compared to 7-19 competitions per year were more likely to report an acute injury (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.05-2.08, P = 0.028) or for an overuse injury (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.02-2.30, P = 0.038).

Conclusions: Both acute and overuse injuries are common among youth sports club members, and the number increases along with increasing amounts of training and competitions. More effective injury prevention is needed both for adolescents engaging in sports club activities and for other adolescents.

Keywords: Acute injury; Adolescent; Athletic injury; Non-member; Overuse injury; Sports club member.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sports* / physiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires