Injuries in football – an overview

Injury rates are high in modern football, and is the most common reason for player unavailability in training and matches (1). Every season there are discussions regarding injuries in football, and especially when key players are out for a prolonged period. It has been shown a relationship between increased performance and lower injury rates for professional football teams in domestic league and European cup tournaments (1), which highlights the importance of player availability. In addition, lower injury rates can save clubs for unnecassary expences. This article will in short go through the current information on injuries in football. Injury rates Injury incidence in elite football is fairly consistent, with incidence reported to to range between 25 to 30 injuries/1000 hours match play, and 3 to 5 injuries/1000 hours training (2). It has been reported from the UEFA injury study on elite European football that a typical squad of 25 players could expect 50 injuries a season, resulting in 2 injuries per player on average (3). Of these, 57% of all injuries occur during matches, and 43% during training (3). During matches, it has been shown that there is an increased tendency for injuries over time in both the first and second halves (3, 4). Statistically, the greatest injury rates have been shown Continue Reading

What are the benefits of half-time re-warm up?

The benefits of warming up prior to physical activity is well-established. The purpose of warming up is to prepare the body for the upcoming activity, in order to optimize performance. From a physiological standpoint, a warm up is an important factor in “waking up” the body. Several physiological mechanisms take place, where some of the most important are increased breathing volume and rate, increased stroke volume and dilation of blood vessels, in order to transport more oxygen to meet the metabolic demand of the working muscles. All these processes are improved by increased body temperature from a gradual warm-up. The general warm-up routine in football consists of 20-30 minutes of low- to high-intensity exercises. This physical preparation elevates muscle and body temperature, an important factor for physical performance. Studies from football has shown a relationship between increased muscle temperature and enhanced sprint performance (1), which highlights the importance of warm-up for maximal efforts at the start of match. It has been shown in football that distance covered in high-intensity running (> 14.4km×h-1) is reduced during the first 15min period of the 2nd half compared to the first 15min period of the 1st half (2). This might seem odd as one could Continue Reading

Artificial turf and injury risk

Many people are of the opinion that football should be played on natural grass, and that artificial turf could potentially increase risk of injury. Quite often, and particularly in Scandinavia, is artificial turf beneficial as a pitch surface, due to lower cost of maintenance and that it can better tolerate a high usage. Hence, more and more pitches with artificial turf are being installed throughout the world. An important question in regard to artificial turf is how injury risk in football is affected, both in terms of regular playing load on artificial turf, and frequent surface shifts between artificial turf and natural grass. This article will in short discuss the current literature in regard to artificial turf and injury risk. Type of artificial turf Artifical turf has been around for several decades, and the first generations that were introduced during the 1970s showed increased risk of injuries compared to natural grass (8). Since then, more modern turfs called third-generation artifical turfs have been developed to better replicate regular natural grass. These have shown to have better cushioning capabilities, and maintain softness over time (9). Since the early 2000s, these third-generation turfs have been the most widely used type of artificial turf. Continue Reading