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THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION MEDICAL RESEARCH PROGRAMME: AN AUDIT OF INJURIES IN ACADEMY YOUTH FOOTBALL

Background: Young footballers may be at a higher risk of overuse injuries because of the immaturity of their musculoskeletal systems, but prospective studies in youth football are limited.

Research question/s: What is the incidence of injuries sustained in English youth academy football over two competitive seasons?

Methodology:Subjects: 4773 football players (9–19 years).

Experimental procedure: Over two seasons, all injuries during football were documented by medical staff at 38 English football club youth academies, using a specific injury audit questionnaire with a weekly return form that documented each club’s current injury status.

Measures of outcome: Incidence of injury (injuries per season), days and games missed, injuries per age group, injuries during different times in the season, types of injuries.

Main finding/s:


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  • Incidence of injury: the mean injury rate was 0.40 per player per season

  • Days and games missed: mean days missed for each injury was 21.9 (33.63), and mean games missed per injury was 2.31 (3.66) (total time absent through injury – 6% of the player’s development time)

  • Injuries per age: there was an increased incidence of injury with increasing age

  • Times of season: injury incidence varied throughout the season (training injuries peaked mid-season in January (p<0.05) and competition injuries peaked at the beginning of the season in October (p<0.05))

  • Location of injuries: mostly lower limb (similar for thigh (19%), ankle (19%), and knee (18%))

  • Growth related conditions accounted for 5% of total injuries, peaking …

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