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Br J Sports Med. 2013 Oct;47(15):986-91. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092676. Epub 2013 Aug 28.

Foul play is associated with injury incidence: an epidemiological study of three FIFA World Cups (2002-2010).

Author information

1
Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, , Helsinki, Finland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Foul play has been considered as one of the most important known extrinsic risk factors for injuries in football.

AIMS:

To compare the incidence and characteristics of foul play injuries and non-foul injuries.

METHODS:

Team physicians' postmatch injury reports and official match statistics were obtained from all matches of the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cups.

RESULTS:

The number of injuries was associated with the number of fouls in a match. The incidence of foul play injuries (20.6/1000 match-hours, 95% CI 17.3 to 24.4) was significantly lower than that of non-foul injuries (42.6, 37.7 to 47.9), which also applied to all playing positions. The causation of injury (foul/non-foul), match period and teams' drawing/losing/winning status were associated with the injury incidence. The interactions between the causation of injury (foul/non-foul) and match time, as well as the teams' drawing/losing/winning status or playing position were not statistically significant. The median (IQR) days of absence resulting from foul play injuries were significantly shorter than that of non-foul injuries. The lower leg and ankle were more common locations for foul play injuries than for non-foul injuries, whereas the opposite was observed for thigh injuries. Contusions were a more common type of foul play injuries than non-foul injuries, while the opposite was found for muscle strains/ruptures/tears.

CONCLUSIONS:

The numbers of injuries and fouls in a match were significantly associated. No significant differences in the variation of foul play and non-foul injury incidences regarding match period, teams' current winning/drawing/losing status and playing position were observed, suggesting that foul play injuries and non-foul injuries may share similar underlying risk factors.

KEYWORDS:

Epidemiology; Soccer; Sporting Injuries

PMID:
23985138
DOI:
10.1136/bjsports-2013-092676
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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