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The influence of game scheduling on medical encounters at the USA Cup soccer tournament


Objective To investigate the influence of playing multiple games on multiple days on youth soccer medical encounter rates.

Design Prospective cohort survey study.

Setting Medical facility at the 2008 Schwan's USA Cup soccer tournament.

Participants Players presenting to the medical facility for game-related medical evaluation.

Assessment of risk factors Date, game and half of game for each medical encounter.

Main outcome measures Game play-related medical encounters per 1000 match hours (MH).

Results 211 players surveyed with 195 eligible and completed questionnaires. There were 4.06, 5.14 and 3.92 medical encounters/1000 MH on 11, 12 and 13 July, respectively, with no significant difference in injury incidence. There was no difference in medical encounter rates of second games compared with first games of the day (p=0.126). Daily medical encounter rates were 5.65, 8.95, 7.83, 6.94 and 4.62/1000 MH on 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 July, respectively, with statistically significant differences on 16 July (p<0.001) and 17 July (p=0.022) compared with 15 July. Encounter rates of second games compared with first games of the day showed no difference (p=0.385). A linear test for trend from 15 to 19 July was not significant (p=0.092).

Conclusions The USA Cup format did not show either increased medical encounter rates from the cumulative total of games played or a consistently increased rate in the second game of the day compared with the first. Players, coaches, parents and administrators can feel confident that this tournament format does not pose an additional risk of injury.

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