Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center

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Information about a piece of news titled Why do elite female soccer players get injured?

Why do elite female soccer players get injured?


Results from a recent study conducted at the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center indicate that a greater BMI was associated with new injuries to the lower limbs. In addition, players with a previous ACL injury had a significantly higher risk of new knee injury to the same side.


Injury incidence among female football players is high, but documentation on injury risk factors is limited. This project was led by Agnethe Nilstad, physiotherapist and PhD candidate, and her team and represents one of the largest studies assessing risk factors in female football.



Extensive pre-season screening followed by weekly exposure and injury registration


Prior to the start of the 2009-season, approximately 200 female football players in the Norwegian female elite league attended comprehensive screening tests assessing neuromuscular, biomechanical and anatomical characteristics at the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center.


These tests included three-dimensional (3D) motion analysis of a vertical drop jump landing, strength and stability tests of the lower limbs, as well as various anatomical measurements.



After the testing, players were asked to participate in an injury registration throughout the subsequent football season.


Using weekly text messaging, players recorded their exposure in training and match play, as well as any time-loss injury that occurred throughout the season.




Greater BMI is associated with lower limb injuries

A total of 173 players provided complete results from both screening and injury registration, and 171 lower limb injuries were recorded in 107 players.



Players who sustained an injury during the season were heavier and had a greater BMI compared to players with no injuries (BMI of 23 versus 22).

The difference in BMI is small, and the clinical relevance is rather limited. The findings must therefore be interpreted accordingly.



Source: Fotballmagasinet, Thomas Karlsen



A greater BMI was also associated with new thigh injuries, whereas lower knee valgus in a drop jump landing appeared to increase the probability of new ankle injuries.


A previous knee injury increased the likelihood of a new injury in the leg/foot during the season.


In addition, players with a previous ACL injury had a 9 times higher risk of sustaining a new knee injury in the same leg.


These findings emphasize the importance of injury prevention training and proper rehabilitation after an injury.



Better players - higher risk?

Some of the findings showed a trend towards increased injury risk in players who performed well in both strength and stability tests.. One potential explanation is that these are players with good technical and tactical skills who are highly involved in the game, and therefore also more exposed to potential injury risk situations.



The study was recently published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine (download pdf)


Download supplementary material (pdf)



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