Objective: To establish the relationship between the history of hip and groin injuries in elite junior football players prior to elite club recruitment and the incidence of hip and groin injuries during their elite career.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting: Analysis of existing data.
Participants: 502 Australian Football League (AFL) players drafted from 1999-2006 with complete draft medical assessment data.
Assessment of Risk Factors: Previous history of hip/groin injury, anthropometric and demographic information.
Main outcome measurement: Hip/groin injury resulting in ≥ 1 missed AFL game.
Results: Data for 502 players were analysed. 84 (17%) players reported a hip/groin injury in their junior football years. 161 (32%) players sustained a hip/groin injury in the AFL. Players who reported a previous hip/groin injury were 1.90 (95% CI: 1.29, 2.79) times more likely to sustain a hip/groin injury in the AFL than players without a pre-AFL hip/groin injury history (p=0.001). Players who reported a previous hip/groin injury were 3.91 (95% CI: 2.25, 6.78), and 9.59 (95% CI: 3.14, 29.3), times more likely to miss games due to osteitis pubis, or hip chondral/labral lesion, in the AFL.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated that a hip or groin injury sustained during junior football years is a significant predictor of missed game time at the elite-level due to hip/groin injury, particularly due to osteitis pubis or hip chondral/labral lesions. The elite junior football period should be targeted for research to investigate and identify modifiable risk factors for the development of hip/groin injuries.