Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center

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Information about project titled 'Training load, injury and physical performance in Norwegian elite female football'

Training load, injury and physical performance in Norwegian elite female football

Details about the project - category Details about the project - value
Project status: Ongoing
Project manager: Markus Vagle
Supervisor(s): Thor Einar Andersen, John Bjørneboe, Håvard Moksnes
Coworker(s): Torstein Dalen-Lorentsen, Morten Wang Fagerland, Ben Clarsen, Joar Harøy


Background: Multiple studies have shown that rapid changes in training load is associated with increased risk of subsequent injury in elite professional sports. It seems that when the athletes perform a higher load than they are prepared for, they are more at risk of sustaining an injury. The application of training load through training and competition can affect the athlete’s modifiable internal risk factors through positive or negative physiological adaptations. The modifiable internal factors can be seen as the characteristics that make athletes more robust or more susceptible to injury at any given training load. Positive training effects such as high fitness may protect against injuries, while negative training effects such as fatigue may heighten the risk. The number of studies conducted in adult female football is low compared to male football and no study has investigated the relationship between relative load and injuries in adult elite female football.

Aims: 1) Describe parameters of fitness and physical performance (power, sprint, and strength) in elite female footballers; 2) investigate the relationship between fitness status and physical performance; and 3) elaborate the relationship between training load, health problems and physical performance. 

Methods: A cohort study will be commenced for the 2020 season and until the end of the 2021 season in “Toppserien”. A member of staff on each participating team will conduct registration of exposure, as well as injury and illness registration. The form will include information about the type and duration of each match or training session, the number of participants, and the surface during the session. An injury will be registered if the player is unable to take full part in football activity or match play at least one day beyond the day of injury. At the same time, players will also conduct registration of both injury/illness as well as training- and match exposure, and RPE individually through a smartphone application. All players with a first team contract will be screened at the “Idrettens helsesenter”, for fitness parameters such as leg press (power and force), countermovement jump, 40m sprint, Nordic hamstring etc. In addition, GPS data from both training sessions and matches will be collected through Polar team.

Implications: This project would make a big impact on the future directions of the field. It will document the full extent of health problems in Norwegian elite female football – this is not currently known, and is essential to plan effective prevention strategies. In addition, it will be the first study to investigate the relationship between training load and injury/illness (health problems) in elite female football. This project will provide important information regarding the importance of fitness and physical performance on injury/illness and load perspectives