Send to

Choose Destination
Inj Prev. 2018 Oct 15. pii: injuryprev-2018-042968. doi: 10.1136/injuryprev-2018-042968. [Epub ahead of print]

Epidemiology of injuries among Italian footballers: the role of the playing field.

Author information

Department of Biomedical Science and Human Oncology, Aldo Moro University of Bari, Bari, Italy.
Degree course in Sport and Movement Science, School of Medicine, Aldo Moro University of Bari, Bari, Italy.
Orthopaedics Unit, Department of Basic Medical Science, Neuroscience and Sensory Organs, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Bari, General Hospital, Bari, Italy.
Department of Biomedical Science and Human Oncology, Aldo Moro University of Bari, Bari, Italy



Football has a higher injury rate compared with other team sports such as rugby, in terms of two main categories: intrinsic (individual) and extrinsic (environmental) factors. The playing field is an extrinsic risk factor which has been poorly investigated in the literature.


The aim of our study was to define the incidence and risk factors of injuries in a cohort of footballers comparing the role of three different types of playing field (hard court, natural grass or synthetic grass).


This was a cross sectional prevalence study.


The population comprised footballers recruited by a convenience sample; the instrument used for the survey was an anonymous self-administered questionnaire.


267 football players were enrolled (average age 23.4±4.8 years), of whom 33.7% (n=90/267) played on hard court, 33.0% (n=88/267) on natural grass and 33.3% (n=89/267) on synthetic grass. The overall incidence of injury was 40.1 (95% CI 34.1 to 46.8) ×1000 person-years of training, with higher values for ankle and knee injuries. Ankle injuries (aOR 0.4; P=0.021) were associated with playing on natural grass as a protective factor, while playing on natural grass seemed to be a risk factor for muscular injuries (aOR 2.3; P=0.026).


Our study showed a high lifetime prevalence of injury among footballers (57%), in particular among athletes who play and train on a hard court. We have studied a topic poorly investigated previously and provide the opportunity to understand interventions to increase the capacity of stakeholders in preventing injuries.


burden of disease; epidemiology; health education; multiple injury; playground; sports / leisure facility

Free full text

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center