Top notch football players sustain identical injuries following season

July 17, 2006

The research does not specify metatarsal injury, which jeopardised England player Wayne Rooney's chances of competing in the recent World Cup, but ankle sprains, at least, do not pose a recurring problem, it seems.

The research indicates that the rate of injuries sustained during training and competitive matches was similar, but the frequency of injury type varied considerably.

A previous injury to the hamstring, groin, or knee joint almost tripled a player's chances of an identical injury the following season, compared with players who had not been injured before.

The researchers base their findings on injury reports filed by doctors and physiotherapists working with 12 elite Swedish football teams, involving 197 players, over two consecutive seasons in 2001 and 2002.

Although older players tended to sustain hamstring injuries more than once, there was no overall association between the age of the player and the likelihood of repeating the injury.

The authors suggest that risk taking behaviour and psychological factors probably have a role in repeat injuries, as do inadequate rehabilitation and premature return to play before an injury has had time to heal properly.

But they also suggest that certain injuries may simply weaken the muscle or joint over the long term, leaving that player more liable to injury in the same spot, they say.

BMJ Specialty Journals

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