Background The role of goalkeepers differs considerably from that of outfield players, but there are no previous studies specifically investigating their injury risk.
Objective To investigate injury patterns, identify high-risk situations and describe injury mechanism for goalies.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Participants 12 male goalkeepers from five of 14 teams in the Norwegian male professional league.
Methods Injury information and exposure data were collected for one competitive season, from April until mid-November 2008. Video recordings from 178 of 182 matches were analyzed to identify high-risk injury situations and to describe injury mechanisms.
Results A total of 43 injuries were registered. The injury incidence was 27.9 per 1000 playing hours (95% CI 25.8 to 30.4) during matches, 23.6 (21.2 to 26.7) for specific goalkeeper training and 9.1 (8.3 to 10.1) during other football training (RR: 2.6, 95% CI 1.2 to 5.3 specific goalkeeper training compared to football training). Injuries to the upper extremities accounted for 36% of all injuries. The most frequent overuse injury location was the shoulder. Video analysis identified two high-risk situations during matches: 1) Duel in the airspace in front of goal after a cross pass, where the goalkeeper was hit in the stomach/chest by the opponent's shoulder/upper arm. 2) Duel where the goalkeeper collided with the opponent when coming out to save a backroom pass and the goalkeeper was hit in stomach/chest or the knee by the opponent's foot or knee. Video analysis did not reveal any typical mechanism of injury.
Conclusion This study provides novel information about injuries and high-risk situations for goalkeepers. Football goalies have higher injury risk during specific goalkeeper training compared to football training. Two high-risk situations for goalkeepers in matches were identified.