Background: The increase in popularity of soccer and expectations from players make significant numbers of soccer injuries conceivable. Concerns have been expressed about the demand placed on the modern-day footballer and translation of these physical and mental demands into injuries. Despite the popularity and importance of the game of soccer in Benin, no detailed study on the occurrence of soccer injury has been carried out.
Objective: The study sets out to describe and assess the determinants and effects of soccer injuries.
Methodology: Seven clubs (196 players) from the premiership, professional, national and state amateur clubs were studied using a descriptive cross-sectional study design. A pre-designed semi-structured questionnaire and key informants interview guide were used for data collection. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used in the analysis, with significant levels generally taken at 5% level of significance.
Results: A total of 196 players sustained 204 injuries with a prevalence rate of 81.6%. More injuries were recorded during matches (46.1%) than during training (36.8%). Injuries occurring by body contact constituted 62.3% of the total injuries. The ankle (25%) was the most affected site, followed by the knee (20.1%), while sprain injury (33.3%) and strain (13.2%) were the commonest injury types. Moderate injury (28.9%) was the highest form of severity recorded. Recurrent injury accounted for 38.8% of injuries, occurring more in training (44.9%) than in matches (36.7%). A greater percentage (86.8%) of the injuries were traumatic in nature, with tackling (44.6%) being the commonest mechanism. Defenders (34.3%) and strikers (31.4%) had higher injury occurrence. The association between the player’s role and the mechanism of injury was significant (p = 0.02), while that between weather condition and injury type was very significant (p = 0.004). Moreover, the association between experience and mechanism of injury was extremely significant (p<0.001). The study also shows that injury has economic, physical and psychological impacts on players.
Conclusion: A prevalence rate of 81.6% was recorded. Sprain was the leading injury type, while the ankle was the most affected anatomical site. Factors such as weather, previous injury, experience, role, and activity tend to influence injury occurrence. Soccer injury also has economic, physical and psychological implications. It is therefore recommended that preventive measures such as adequate treatment of injuries, full rehabilitation after injuries, use of protective equipment, appropriate exercises and warm-ups, continual team education on injury managements and skill improvement, etc., be utilised and enforced to protect this group of sport workers.
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Competing interests: None.