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      Injuries in professional male football players in Kosovo: a descriptive epidemiological study

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          The incidence and severity of football-related injuries has been found to differ strongly between professional leagues from different countries. The aims of this study were to record the incidence, type and severity of injuries in Kosovarian football players and investigate the relationship between injury incidence rates (IRs), players’ age and playing positions.


          Players’ age, anthropometric characteristics and playing positions, training and match exposure as well as injury occurrences were monitored in 11 teams (143 players) of Kosovo’s top division during the 2013/14 season. The exact type, severity and duration of football-related injuries were documented following International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) recommendations.


          A total of 272 injuries were observed, with traumatic injuries accounting for 71 %. The overall injury IR was 7.38 (CI: 7.14, 7.63) injuries per 1,000 exposure hours and ~11x lower during training as opposed to matches. Strains and ruptures of thigh muscles, ligamentous injuries of the knee as well as meniscus or other cartilage tears represented the most frequent differential diagnoses. While no statistical differences were found between players engaged in different playing positions, injury IR was found to be higher by 10–13 % in younger (IR = 7.63; CI: 7.39, 7.87) as compared to middle-aged (IR = 6.95; CI: 6.41, 7.54) and older players (IR = 6.76; CI: 5.71, 8.00).


          The total injury IR in elite football in Kosovo is slightly lower than the international average, which may be related to lesser match exposure. Typical injury patterns agree well with previously reported data. Our finding that injury IR was greater in younger players is related to a higher rate of traumatic injuries and may indicate a more aggressive and risky style of play in this age group.

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          The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12891-016-1202-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 31

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          The Football Association Medical Research Programme: an audit of injuries in professional football--analysis of hamstring injuries.

           C. WOODS (2004)
          To conduct a detailed analysis of hamstring injuries sustained in English professional football over two competitive seasons. Club medical staff at 91 professional football clubs annotated player injuries over two seasons. A specific injury audit questionnaire was used together with a weekly form that documented each clubs' current injury status. Completed injury records for the two competitive seasons were obtained from 87% and 76% of the participating clubs respectively. Hamstring strains accounted for 12% of the total injuries over the two seasons with nearly half (53%) involving the biceps femoris. An average of five hamstring strains per club per season was observed. A total of 13 116 days and 2029 matches were missed because of hamstring strains, giving an average of 90 days and 15 matches missed per club per season. In 57% of cases, the injury occurred during running. Hamstring strains were most often observed during matches (62%) with an increase at the end of each half (p<0.01). Groups of players sustaining higher than expected rates of hamstring injury were Premiership (p<0.01) and outfield players (p<0.01), players of black ethnic origin (p<0.05), and players in the older age groups (p<0.01). Only 5% of hamstring strains underwent some form of diagnostic investigation. The reinjury rate for hamstring injury was 12%. Hamstring strains are common in football. In trying to reduce the number of initial and recurrent hamstring strains in football, prevention of initial injury is paramount. If injury does occur, the importance of differential diagnosis followed by the management of all causes of posterior thigh pain is emphasised. Clinical reasoning with treatment based on best available evidence is recommended.
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            Previous injury as a risk factor for injury in elite football: a prospective study over two consecutive seasons.

            Previous injury is often proposed to be a risk factor for football injury, but most studies rely on players reporting their own medical history and are thus potentially subject to recall bias. Little is known about the natural variation in injury pattern between seasons. To study whether prospectively recorded injuries during one season are associated with injuries sustained during the following season, and to compare injury risk and injury pattern between consecutive seasons. The medical staffs of 12 elite Swedish male football teams prospectively recorded individual exposure and time loss injuries over two full consecutive seasons (2001 and 2002). A multivariate model was used to determine the relation between previous injury, anthropometric data, and the risk of injury. The training and match injury incidences were similar between seasons (5.1 v 5.3 injuries/1000 training hours and 25.9 v 22.7/1000 match hours), but analysis of injury severity and injury patterns showed variations between seasons. Players who were injured in the 2001 season were at greater risk of any injury in the following season compared with non-injured players (hazard ratio 2.7; 95% confidence interval 1.7 to 4.3, p<0.0001). Players with a previous hamstring injury, groin injury, and knee joint trauma were two to three times more likely to suffer an identical injury in the following season, whereas no such relation was found for ankle sprain. Age was not associated with an increased injury risk. This study confirmed previous results showing that previous injury is an important risk factor for football injury. Overall injury incidences were similar between consecutive seasons, indicating that an injury surveillance study covering one full season can provide a reasonable overview of the injury problem among elite football players in a specific environment. However, a prolonged study period is recommended for analyses of specific injury patterns.
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              A prospective epidemiological study of injuries in four English professional football clubs.

              To define the causes of injuries to players in English professional football during competition and training. Lost time injuries to professional and youth players were prospectively recorded by physiotherapists at four English League clubs over the period 1994 to 1997. Data recorded included information related to the injury, date and place of occurrence, type of activity, and extrinsic Playing factors. In all, 67% of all injuries occurred during competition. The overall injury frequency rate (IFR) was 8.5 injuries/1000 hours, with the IFR during competitions (27.7) being significantly (p < 0.01) higher than that during training (3.5). The IFRs for youth players were found to increase over the second half of the season, whereas they decreased for professional players. There were no significant differences in IFRs for professional and youth players during training. There were significantly (p < 0.01) injuries in competition in the 15 minute periods at the end of each half. Strains (41%), sprains (20%), and contusions (20%) represented the major types of injury. The thigh (23%), the ankle (17%), knee (14%), and lower leg (13%) represented the major locations of injury, with significantly (p < 0.01) more injuries to the dominant body side. Reinjury counted for 22% of all injuries. Only 12% of all injuries were caused by a breach of the rules of football, although player to player contact was involved in 41% of all injuries. The overall level of injury to professional footballers has been showed to be around 1000 times higher times higher than for industrial occupations generally regarded as high risk. The high level of muscle strains, in particular, indicates possible weakness in fitness training programmes and use of warming up and cooling down procedures by clubs and the need for benchmarking players' levels of fitness and performance. Increasing levels of injury to youth players as a season progresses emphasizes the importance of controlling the exposure of young players to high levels of competition.

                Author and article information

                BMC Musculoskelet Disord
                BMC Musculoskelet Disord
                BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
                BioMed Central (London )
                12 August 2016
                12 August 2016
                : 17
                [1 ]Institute of Sport Science, University of Vienna, Auf der Schmelz 6, A-1150 Vienna, Austria
                [2 ]Austrian Institute of Sports Medicine, Auf der Schmelz 6, A-1150 Vienna, Austria
                [3 ]Department of Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, Fürstenweg 187, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria
                © The Author(s). 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                © The Author(s) 2016


                soccer, injury incidence, epidemiology, athlete, trauma


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