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The epidemiology of groin injury in senior football: a systematic review of prospective studies


Background Groin injuries are troublesome in men's and women's football.

Aim To review the literature on the epidemiology of groin injury in senior football and compare injury occurrence between sexes.

Methods Studies were identified through a search of PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL and Web of Science, in the reference lists of the selected articles and the authors’ bibliographies. The number of injuries, percentage of groin injury from all injuries and rate of groin injury per 1000 h were extracted. Exposure and injury data were aggregated across included studies and the absolute differences in groin injury proportion and rate of groin injury were compared between sexes. Risk of bias was assessed using a 5-item checklist.

Results 34 articles met the study criteria and were included. The proportion of groin injury in club-seasonal football was 4–19% in men and 2–14% in women. Aggregated data analysis (29 studies) showed a higher relative proportion of groin injury in men than in women (12.8% vs 6.9%, absolute difference 5.9%, 95% CI 4.6% to 7.1%). The rate of groin injury varied from 0.2 to 2.1/1000 h in men and 0.1 to 0.6/1000 h in women's club football, and aggregated analysis (23 studies) showed a more than two-fold higher rate in men (0.83/1000 h vs 0.35/1000 h, rate ratio 2.4, 95% CI 2.0 to 2.9). High risk of bias was identified for participant selection (18 studies), exposure (17 studies) and precision estimate (16 studies).

Conclusions Groin injuries are frequent in senior football and are more common in men than women. Future research needs to be of higher quality.

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