n South African Journal of Sports Medicine - A comparison of the nature and severity of injuries in younger and older professional soccer players : original research article

Volume 17, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1015-5163
  • E-ISSN: 2078-516X



&lt;I&gt;Objective.&lt;/I&gt; To compare the nature and severity of injuries in young and older professional soccer players in South Africa, and to determine whether the number and nature of injuries sustained increases with age. &lt;br&gt;&lt;I&gt;Design.&lt;/I&gt; A prospective, descriptive study of 40 professional players under the age of 22 years and 40 professional players over the age of 26 years was undertaken over 2 seasons. &lt;br&gt;&lt;I&gt;Setting.&lt;/I&gt; Medical support facilities at practices and matches, for a professional soccer team and a national junior team. &lt;br&gt;&lt;I&gt;Interventions.&lt;/I&gt; Data on injuries were collected on a standardised form and included the anatomical site of injury, mechanism of injury, whether the injury was acute or recurrent, and the number of days absent from training or games due to injury. <br><I>Main outcome measures.&lt;/I&gt; Comparison of the number, nature and severity of injuries and the duration of training and playing time missed through injury in the 2 groups. &lt;br&gt;&lt;I&gt;Results.&lt;/I&gt; Seventy-eight injuries were recorded in the younger age group compared with 123 in the older age group. The younger players sustained significantly more slight injuries (59%) that did not necessitate time off training than the older players (p < 0.031). Young players required on average 38.8 days to recover from each injury while the older players took only 26.4 days. The ankle was the most common site of injury. Recurrent injuries were most common in the older age group. &lt;br&gt;&lt;I&gt;Conclusion.&lt;/I&gt; The incidence of soccer-related injuries rose with age. Most injuries were minor. Information on the nature and severity of injuries can be used to develop appropriate preventive programmes.

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