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New PhD thesis among Norwegian professional football players


On Friday, September 19, MD John Bjøreboe will defend his PhD thesis on "Injury surveillance and prevention in male professional football".


Football is one of the most popular sports both in Norway and worldwide. Studies have shown that the injury incidence in football matches is approximately 1000 times higher than in industrial occupations such as construction and mining.


4 papers published in highly-ranked sports medicine journals


The PhD-thesis of John Bjørneboe (picture) resulted in 4 papers, all published in renowned international sports medicine journals.


The work is based on a prospective injury surveillance system established in 2000 in the Norwegian male professional league by the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center (OSTRC).


Findings from the first paper revealed that prospective injury surveillance by team medical staff in Norwegian male professional football underestimates the incidence of time-loss injuries by at least one fifth (read the article).


The prospective injury surveillance system documented that the overall incidence of acute match injuries in Norwegian male professional football increased by 6% per year during the study period, although this increase was not consistent across teams. The increased incidence of match injuries warranted further examinations.


Does play on artificial turf increase injury risk?


During the 2004 season, third-generation artificial turf was introduced in Tippeligaen.


Previous studies on first and second generation artificial turf had showed an increased injury incidence compared to natural grass.



However, Bjørneboe and co-workers were not able to detect any significant differences in injury rate or pattern between third-generation artificial turf and natural grass (read the article).


Significant increase of high-risk play over a 10-year period

The next step was to conduct a video analysis of situations with a high propensity for injury. The video analysis showed an increased rate of non-contact and opponent-to-player contact incidents in both heading and tackling duels with a high injury potential in the 2010 season compared to ten years earlier (read the article).


Stricter rule enforcement reduced head injuries

Based on these findings, Bjørneboe and co-workers assessed whether a stricter interpretation of the Laws of the Game, with red cards for high elbows in heading duels and for late/two-foot tackles, could reduce the potential for injuries. They found no significant differences in the overall rate of incidents after the introduction of stricter rule enforcement. However, the rate of head incidents and arm-to-head incidents was reduced (read the article).


Dr Thor Einar Andersen and professor Roald Bahr served as supervisors for John.


Read more about John´s projects.



Program for September 19 (at Ullevål University Hospital, Oslo, "Grønt aud, lab.bygget")


10:15-11:00: Trial lecture "Prevention of football injuries"

13:00-16:00: PhD defense



Dissertation committee


Head: Dr Kjersti Storheim


1. opponent: Harald Roos, Department of Orthopaedics, Clinical Sciences Lund, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

2. opponent: Cecilie Røe, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Oslo, Norway


Trial lecture and PhD-defense are open for public. Welcome!