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Sport medicine research needs funding: the International football federations are leading the way
  1. Jan Ekstrand1,2,3,
  2. Jiri Dvorak4,5,
  3. Michel D'Hooghe3,4
  1. 1 Division of Community Medicine, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
  2. 2 Football Research Group, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
  3. 3 UEFA Medical Committee, Nyon, Switzerland
  4. 4 Medical Centre of Excellence, Schulthess Clinic, Zürich, Switzerland
  5. 5 FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre (F-MARC), Zürich, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Professor Jan Ekstrand, Solstigen 3, S-589 43, Linköping, Sweden; jan.ekstrand{at}

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This issue of the BJSM contains 10 injury surveillance articles concentrated on the world's largest and most popular sport, football. As presented by Bizzini et al, football is played by almost 300 million people—or around 4% of the world's population.1

From a medical perspective, football contains many positive motivational and social factors that may facilitate compliance and contribute to the maintenance of a physically active lifestyle.2 ,3 Recently, Krustrup et al demonstrated that football training for 2–3 h/week resulted in significant cardiovascular, metabolic and musculoskeletal adaptations, independent of gender, age or lack of experience with football.3 They conclusively showed that football provides broad-spectred health and fitness effects that are at least as pronounced as for running, and in some cases even better.3

Despite the positive effects of participating in football and other sports, negative factors, such as the risk of injury, must also be considered. Such a risk is especially pronounced at the elite level, where football is a profession. And this is not a small group; according to FIFPro, the worldwide representative organisation for all professional players, there are more more than 50 000 professional players (

Injury risk in football is substantial

The risk of injury in professional football has been estimated at about 1000 times greater than for typical industrial occupations generally regarded as high risk.4 As demonstrated by Ekstrand et al in this issue, the overall injury rate is around eight time-loss injuries per 1000 h …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.