Nav: Home

Study uses GPS technology to predict football injuries

August 02, 2016

Footballers' injuries may be predicted by looking at players' workloads during training and competition, according to new research.

Researchers discovered that the greatest injury risk occurred when players accumulated a very high number of short bursts of speed during training over a three-week period.

The University of Birmingham and Southampton Football Club worked together to analyse the performance of the performance of youth players and observe the links between training and injury - publishing their findings in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The findings now provide a set of initial guidelines for helping to reduce the occurrence of injuries in elite youth football. They show that GPS technology and accelerometers can be used to predict the risk of both contact and non-contact injuries.

The study is the first to monitor injury risk using the GPS technology used to track players' speed and acceleration - from both training and competition in football.

Lead researcher Laura Bowen is the First Team Data Scientist at Southampton FC and studying under the supervision of Dr François-Xavier Li for her PhD in Sport Sciences at the University of Birmingham, in the UK. She said of the study's findings:

"Our research has huge practical and scientific application. It expands on a recent body of literature in rugby league and cricket which has proposed that the prescription of workloads may be more indicative of injury than the load itself.

"The results of our study demonstrate this, with high, excessive workloads associated with the greatest injury risk. However, when the players were exposed to these high loads progressively, over a period of time, the risk of injury reduced significantly.

"Ultimately, players who safely train harder, may develop a greater resilience and tolerance for the intensity and fatigue of competition by increasing their physical capacities."

Dr François-Xavier Li, from the University's School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, said: "To increase the chances of success, coaches give players training loads which push the boundaries of what footballers can achieve without exceeding what their bodies can tolerate.

"An appropriate balance is required between training, competition and recovery to hit peak performance, whilst avoiding injury. However, this balance is not always adequately maintained - highlighted by the higher injury rate in football than many other team sports.

"These findings provide initial guidelines for optimal workloads to reduce the occurrence of injury in elite youth football, but we should be cautious about directly applying this work to different teams and sports due to the specific nature of football's physical demands."

The study used a range of player performance data gathered by GPS equipment worn by the players in training, including: total distance covered; distance covered at high speed; total load/forces experienced; and short bursts of speed.

This data was then analysed in relation to 'recordable injuries', which caused an absence from football activity - classified as mild, moderate or severe - of anything from a couple of days to several weeks. The study found that:
  • High level of acceleration over a three-week training period was the strongest indicator of overall and non-contact injury risk;
  • High total distance (in excess of 112km) covered over a four-week period and high weekly total loads significantly increased the risk of overall and non-contact injuries;
  • Moderate-to-high levels of distance covered at high speed resulted in higher overall and non-contact injury incidence respectively; and
  • Very high weekly total loads and intense levels of short bursts of speed were significantly related to a higher risk of contact injury.
The findings suggest training should be organised so that distance covered at high speed and total load/forces experienced fluctuate across a four-week period, with both high and low workloads achieved.

Footballers who can safely train harder may develop greater resilience and tolerance for the increasing intensity and fatigue of competition.

It is known that higher workloads are linked with contact injuries in professional rugby. The study suggests that a higher level of fatigue relates to contact injury than non-contact injury. By increasing fitness levels and limiting fatigue, players may be able to respond more quickly to avoid rapid, unpredictable movements that precede contact injury.

However, in the current study the large prevalence of contact injuries in competition goes further to highlight the importance of monitoring the difference between normal training activity and exceptional 'spikes'. This is particularly relevant during fixture congested periods or tournaments, when it is a challenge to ensure adequate recovery between games, whilst maintaining optimum training loads.
-end-


University of Birmingham

Related Fatigue Articles:

Biomarkers link fatigue in cancer, Parkinson's
Biological markers responsible for extreme exhaustion in patients with cancer have now been linked to fatigue in those with Parkinson's disease, according to new research from Rice University.
Fatigue is a common but underestimated symptom of endometriosis
Two papers published in Human Reproduction journal show that the prevalence of fatigue is more than doubled in women with endometriosis but is underestimated, meaning that doctors should be making greater efforts to discuss and treat this debilitating symptom in these women, and that a history of some types of child abuse is linked to an increased likelihood of endometriosis in adulthood.
New 3-D display takes the eye fatigue out of virtual reality
A new type of 3-D display could solve the long-standing problem eye fatigue when using VR and AR equipment by greatly improving the viewing comfort of these wearable devices.
Chronic fatigue syndrome linked to imbalanced microbiome
Scientists at the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health have discovered abnormal levels of specific gut bacteria related to chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME/CFS, in patients with and without concurrent irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS.
Conquering metal fatigue
Researchers have found a way to greatly reduce the effects of fatigue in steel by incorporating a laminated nanostructure into the material.
Anakinra does not seem to improve fatigue severity in women with chronic fatigue syndrome
The anti-inflammatory biologic drug anakinra does not seem to reduce fatigue severity in women with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Reducing cancer-related fatigue
A new article published online by JAMA Oncology analyzed which of four commonly recommended treatments -- exercise, psychological, the combination of both, or pharmaceutical -- for cancer-related fatigue appeared to be most effective.
Urine test for fatigue could help prevent accidents
Doctors, pilots, air traffic controllers and bus drivers have at least one thing in common -- if they're exhausted at work, they could be putting lives at risk.
Genetic cause for shift work fatigue discovered
Some people adapt easily to shift work, but not everyone can handle constant disruptions to their daily rhythm.
Management of fatigue and sleep in chronic illness
The College of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently was awarded a five-year, $1.23 million grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research to create a new center where scientists will develop technologies to help people with chronic illness manage fatigue and impaired sleep.
More Fatigue News and Fatigue Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Our Relationship With Water
We need water to live. But with rising seas and so many lacking clean water – water is in crisis and so are we. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around restoring our relationship with water. Guests on the show include legal scholar Kelsey Leonard, artist LaToya Ruby Frazier, and community organizer Colette Pichon Battle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#569 Facing Fear
What do you fear? I mean really fear? Well, ok, maybe right now that's tough. We're living in a new age and definition of fear. But what do we do about it? Eva Holland has faced her fears, including trauma and phobia. She lived to tell the tale and write a book: "Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Uncounted
First things first: our very own Latif Nasser has an exciting new show on Netflix. He talks to Jad about the hidden forces of the world that connect us all. Then, with an eye on the upcoming election, we take a look back: at two pieces from More Perfect Season 3 about Constitutional amendments that determine who gets to vote. Former Radiolab producer Julia Longoria takes us to Washington, D.C. The capital is at the heart of our democracy, but it's not a state, and it wasn't until the 23rd Amendment that its people got the right to vote for president. But that still left DC without full representation in Congress; D.C. sends a "non-voting delegate" to the House. Julia profiles that delegate, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and her unique approach to fighting for power in a virtually powerless role. Second, Radiolab producer Sarah Qari looks at a current fight to lower the US voting age to 16 that harkens back to the fight for the 26th Amendment in the 1960s. Eighteen-year-olds at the time argued that if they were old enough to be drafted to fight in the War, they were old enough to have a voice in our democracy. But what about today, when even younger Americans are finding themselves at the center of national political debates? Does it mean we should lower the voting age even further? This episode was reported and produced by Julia Longoria and Sarah Qari. Check out Latif Nasser's new Netflix show Connected here. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.