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An examination of the frequency and severity of injuries and incidents at three levels of professional football.
  1. R D Hawkins,
  2. C W Fuller
  1. Centre for Hazard and Risk Management, Loughborough University, Leics, United Kingdom.

    Abstract

    OBJECTIVE: To assess the risk of injury to professional footballers during European international and English Premier and First Division league matches. METHODS: Videotaped recordings of 29, 49, and 93 matches from the 1996 European Championship, 1996/1997 English Premier season and 1994 to 1997 English First Division seasons respectively were analysed. During each match, several relevant variables, including the number of fouls, injuries, time of incident, player identity, and injury mechanism, were recorded. RESULTS: Significantly more free kicks were awarded during international matches than during league matches; however, there were no significant differences between the numbers of free kicks awarded over the three First Division seasons assessed. Between 1.7 and 3.0% of fouls resulted in a player requiring treatment for injury, but only 15-28% of all injuries resulted from foul play. In all "non-foul" situations, in which injury resulted, at least 60% still involved player to player contact. No significant differences in injury frequency were observed between playing positions or match halves. CONCLUSIONS: The results equate to a total of 808 players per season from the estimated 2600 players in the four English professional football leagues sustaining a match injury that caused them to miss at least one game. The large number of underlying "non-injury" incidents is identified as the reason for this level of injury rather than a higher ratio of "injury" to "non-injury" incidents in professional football compared with other occupations.

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