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005 Is inferior dual-task performance a risk factor for injury in youth soccer? A prospective study
  1. Evi Wezenbeek,
  2. Dries Pieters,
  3. Joke Schuermans,
  4. Tine Willems,
  5. Erik Witvrouw
  1. Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium


Background The effects of dual task (DT) performance on injury incidence in sports have barely been researched. Athletes often encounter situations where cognitive and motor tasks must be performed simultaneously, with interference between tasks. An inferior DT performance could be associated with a less adequate (motor) response, increasing the injury risk.

Objective To examine whether inferior DT performance could be identified as a risk factor for injury in elite youth soccer.

Prospective cohort study.

Setting Soccer-specific DT performance was evaluated by means of the Loughborough Soccer Passing Test (LSPT), followed by a prospective monitoring period (injury and sports exposure registry).

Participants 130 male youth soccer players, aged 12.8 ± 1.7 years

Assessment of Risk Factors Cox regression analyses, corrected for age, were performed to identify DT performance as a potential risk factor for traumatic injuries.

Main Outcome Measurements (1) LSPT test and LSPT test with additional cognitive task (LSPT+) scores, as well as the (2) Relative Dual Task Interference (RDTI).

Results 32% of players sustained an injury, resulting in a mean time loss of 16.12 ± 22.87 days. Overall injury incidence was 2.86 per 1000 exposure hours. The performance in both single and dual task conditions improved with age (p<0.001). Meanwhile, the RDTI remained relatively constant across all age groups (p=0.816). Survival analyses revealed no significant predictive effects of DT performance on injury occurrence. Age was significantly able to predict injury occurrence (p=0.011), with older players demonstrating a higher risk.

Conclusions Inferior DT performance could not be associated with increased injury risk in youth soccer. Age was a significant risk factor for injury incidence in this sample but did not present any association with DT performance. DT performance capacity cannot be seen as a risk factor for injury in youth soccer.

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