Background Despite the professionalization of women’s football the incidence and prevalence of injuries occurring within England is currently unknown.
Objective To estimate the incidence, prevalence and nature of injury in a single professional Women’s football squad over one season (2018/2019)
Design Prospective single site cohort study.
Setting Professional women’s football squad competing in the English Women’s Championship.
Patients (or Participants) 25 players with a professional contract. Ethical approval was obtained from Leeds Beckett University.
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) Data collection procedures followed the UEFA consensus guidelines. Player exposures were recorded via GPS for all football related activity
Main Outcome Measurements Incidence of injury per 1000h of exposure, prevalence and severity of injury per anatomical site, epidemiologic incidence proportion and clinical incidence to provide measures of injury burden and resource management.
Results The incidence of injury was 8.04/1000 h (95% CI 4.32–11.77), 30.68/1000 h (95% CI 14.61–47.75) during match play and 2.24/1000 h (95% CI: 0.25–4.66) during training. A total of 18 injuries including re-injuries were sustained providing a clinical incidence of 0.72 (95% CI 0.54–0.89) injuries per player. The most common sites of injury were the knee (5/18, 27%) and anterior thigh (3/18, 17%). There was 1 non time loss injury, 3 minimal injuries (16.6%; 1–3 days), 4 mild (22.2%; 4- 7 days), 6 moderate (33,3%; 8 – 28 days) and 4 severe injuries (22.2%; > 28 days). Of the 5 knee injuries, 2 were ruptures of the anterior cruciate ligament via a non-contact mechanism. Epidemiological incidence proportion was 0.44 (95% CI: 0.24–0.74) thus the average probability that any player would sustain at least one injury was 44% (95% CI: 25%-63%).
Conclusions This is the first prospective investigation capturing injury incidence from a cohort of English players. The relatively high proportion of ACL injuries imposes a significant burden on a squad of this size. Multi-site prospective investigations of injury are required