Aim We aimed to systematically analyse the videos of acute injuries in professional men’s football and describe typical injury patterns.
Methods Injuries were registered with the German statutory accident insurance for professional athletes as part of occupational accident reporting. Following each season (2014–2017), video footage of the two highest divisions in German male football was searched for moderate and severe acute match injuries. Two raters then independently assessed the injuries for: game situation, player and opponent behaviour, referee decision, and injury mechanisms.
Results The total data set included 7493 acute injuries. Of these, 857 (11%) were moderate or severe match injuries. The video search yielded 345 (40%) clearly identifiable injuries and of those 170 (49%) were contact injuries. We describe nine typical injury patterns: one each for head and shoulder injuries, two for thigh and ankle, and three for knee injuries. The nine patterns are called: (1) Head-to-head injury. (2) Collision-and-fall shoulder injury. (3) Sprinter’s thigh injury. (4) Perturbation-and-strain thigh injury. (5) Tackle knee injury. (6) Tackle-and-twist knee injury. (7) Non-contact knee injury. (8) Attacked ankle injury. (9) Collision-and-twist ankle injury. Thigh injuries occurred primarily in non-contact situations (44/81), mostly while the player was sprinting (23/44). Knee injuries were often caused by direct external impact (49/84)—mainly suffered by the tackler during a tackle (17/49).
Conclusion The nine common injury patterns in football differed substantially in their mechanisms and causes.
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