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ANXIETY AND INJURIES IN SOCCER PLAYERS
  1. Paola Vago1,
  2. Francesco Casolo1,
  3. Nicola Lovecchio1,
  4. Lucia Colombo2,
  5. Monica Gatti2
  1. 1 Dept. of Sport Science, Catholic University of Milan, Italy
  2. 2 Department of Psychology, Catholic University of Milan, Italy

Abstract

Soccer is among the most played and most popular sports in the world. The average incidence of injuries per game is 2.7 and that an adult soccer player has at least one injury per year (Roi G.S., Della Villa S., 2011). Findings from recent studies suggest that psychological factors such as somatic trait anxiety and daily hassles are associated with increased risk of injury (Johnson and Ivarsson, 2013). The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between anxiety and injury in adult male soccer players.

Method The participants of the study were 100 amauteur male soccer players (aged 18 to 45). Each player filled in a qualitative questionnaire about his personal characteristics and sport practice (training, matches, etc.) and previous injuries (muscle, meniscal, injuries, tendinopathies, fractures, etc.). The participants also completed the Stai–State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger et al, 1968). This questionnaire investigates the anxiety level, both in a specific situation (before the match, in this study) and in everyday life.

Results The data were tested for correlations between anxiety (state and trait) levels and number of injuries (divided in specific types). Tendinopathies positively correlated both with state (rho=0.243; p<0.05) and trait anxiety (rho=0.205; p<0.05). Also fractures positively correlated both with state (rho=0.295; p<0.01) and trait anxiety (rho=0.368; p<0.01).

Differences in injuries between participants who reported high or low anxiety levels were also explored. Players with higher level of state anxiety (N=35) reported more tendinopathies (p<0.01) and fractures (p<0.01). Similarly, players with higher levels of trait anxiety (N=33) reported more tendinopathies (p<0.05) and fractures (p<0.01).

Discussion The present results support the contention that anxiety is an important factor, significantly associated with injuries, such as tendinopathies and fractures. In addict, several studies have shown that lack of readiness to take action, tough-mindedness or presence of a generalized high status of muscle tone, might be factors related to injury in a player with anxiety traits. Hence, with respect to psychological components, situation-related emotional states and coping resources may represent important avenues for interventions aimed at preserving health status and preventing injuries in soccer players.

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