Epidemiology in Young Football Players

  • Oliver FaudeEmail author
  • Roland Rössler


Football (soccer) is the world’s most popular sport with most players being younger than 18 years. Playing football can induce beneficial health effects, but there is also a high risk of injury. In order to prevent football injuries in children and adolescent players, it is necessary to obtain valid epidemiological data on injury incidence and characteristics. Injury incidence tends to increase with age through all age groups in youth football. Maturational status seems to have an influence on injury characteristics. Injury characteristics in adolescent players were similar to adult football. In particular, adolescent girls seem to have a considerable risk to sustain an anterior cruciate ligament rupture. Players younger than 15 years seem to have partly different injury patterns. Particularly, fractures, mainly at the growth plates at the epiphyseal–metaphyseal junction, and growth-related osteochondral disorders may result in long layoff times and may have serious consequences in (pre)pubescent children. Specific data for players under the age of 11 years are nearly completely missing. As injury characteristics in adolescent players are comparable to adults, prevention programs proven beneficial in adults are also efficacious in youth football players. Injury prevention programs particularly tailored to children before and during puberty based on the specific needs and characteristics in these age groups need to be developed and evaluated.


Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Football Player Injury Incidence Injury Characteristic Injury Prevention Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The Ph.D. studies of Roland Rössler on the “Epidemiology of Football Injuries in Youth Players” were financially supported by FIFA.


  1. 1.
    FIFA Communications Division (2007) FIFA big count 2006: 270 million people active in football. ZurichGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Krustrup P, Christensen JF, Randers MB, Pedersen H, Sundstrup E et al (2010) Muscle adaptations and performance enhancements of soccer training for untrained men. Eur J Appl Physiol 108:1247–1258CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Krustrup P, Hansen PR, Andersen LJ, Jakobsen MD, Sundstrup E et al (2010) Long-term musculoskeletal and cardiac health effects of recreational football and running for premenopausal women. Scand J Med Sci Sports 20(Suppl 1):58–71CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Faude O, Kerper O, Multhaupt M, Winter C, Beziel K et al (2010) Football to tackle overweight in children. Scand J Med Sci Sports 20(Suppl 1):103–110CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Verhagen E, Bolling C, Finch CF (2015) Caution this drug may cause serious harm! Why we must report adverse effects of physical activity promotion. Br J Sports Med 49:1–2CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Maffulli N, Longo UG, Gougoulias N, Loppini M, Denaro V (2010) Long-term health outcomes of youth sports injuries. Br J Sports Med 44:21–25CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Maffulli N, Longo UG, Gougoulias N, Caine D, Denaro V (2011) Sport injuries: a review of outcomes. Br Med Bull 97:47–80CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Collard DC, Verhagen EA, van Mechelen W, Heymans MW, Chinapaw MJ (2011) Economic burden of physical activity-related injuries in Dutch children aged 10–12. Br J Sports Med 45:1058–1063CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bahr R, Krosshaug T (2005) Understanding injury mechanisms: a key component of preventing injuries in sport. Br J Sports Med 39:324–329CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    van Mechelen W, Hlobil H, Kemper HC (1992) Incidence, severity, aetiology and prevention of sports injuries. A review of concepts. Sports Med 14:82–99CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Junge A, Dvorak J (2004) Soccer injuries: a review on incidence and prevention. Sports Med 34:929–938CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Junge A, Dvorak J, Graf-Baumann T, Peterson L (2004) Football injuries during FIFA tournaments and the Olympic Games, 1998–2001: development and implementation of an injury-reporting system. Am J Sports Med 32:80S–89SCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ekstrand J, Hagglund M, Walden M (2011) Injury incidence and injury patterns in professional football: the UEFA injury study. Br J Sports Med 45:553–558CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Faude O, Junge A, Kindermann W, Dvorak J (2005) Injuries in female soccer players: a prospective study in the German national league. Am J Sports Med 33:1694–1700CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Junge A, Lamprecht M, Stamm H, Hasler H, Bizzini M et al (2011) Countrywide campaign to prevent soccer injuries in Swiss amateur players. Am J Sports Med 39:57–63CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Steffen K, Emery CA, Romiti M, Kang J, Bizzini M et al (2013) High adherence to a neuromuscular injury prevention programme (FIFA 11+) improves functional balance and reduces injury risk in Canadian youth female football players: a cluster randomised trial. Br J Sports Med 47:794–802CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Mandelbaum BR, Silvers HJ, Watanabe DS, Knarr JF, Thomas SD et al (2005) Effectiveness of a neuromuscular and proprioceptive training program in preventing anterior cruciate ligament injuries in female athletes: 2-year follow-up. Am J Sports Med 33:1003–1010CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Walden M, Atroshi I, Magnusson H, Wagner P, Hagglund M (2012) Prevention of acute knee injuries in adolescent female football players: cluster randomised controlled trial. BMJ 344:e3042CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Faude O, Rössler R, Junge A (2013) Football injuries in children and adolescent players: are there clues for prevention? Sports Med 43:819–837CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Le Gall F, Carling C, Reilly T (2007) Biological maturity and injury in elite youth football. Scand J Med Sci Sports 17:564–572PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Le Gall F, Carling C, Reilly T (2008) Injuries in young elite female soccer players: an 8-season prospective study. Am J Sports Med 36:276–284CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Le Gall F, Carling C, Reilly T, Vandewalle H, Church J et al (2006) Incidence of injuries in elite French youth soccer players: a 10-season study. Am J Sports Med 34:928–938CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Müller-Rath R, Schmidt C, Mumme T, Andereya S, Miltner O (2006) The injury pattern following the introduction of the junior premier league in Germany compared to professional senior football (soccer). Sportverletz Sportschaden 20:192–195CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    McNoe BM, Chalmers DJ (2010) Injury in community-level soccer: development of an injury surveillance system. Am J Sports Med 38:2542–2551CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Emery CA, Meeuwisse WH, Hartmann SE (2005) Evaluation of risk factors for injury in adolescent soccer: implementation and validation of an injury surveillance system. Am J Sports Med 33:1882–1891CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Fuller CW, Ekstrand J, Junge A, Andersen TE, Bahr R et al (2006) Consensus statement on injury definitions and data collection procedures in studies of football (soccer) injuries. Br J Sports Med 40:193–201CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Giannotti M, Al-Sahab B, McFaull S, Tamim H (2011) Epidemiology of acute soccer injuries in Canadian children and youth. Pediatr Emerg Care 27:81–85CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Adams AL, Schiff MA (2006) Childhood soccer injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments. Acad Emerg Med 13:571–574CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Leininger RE, Knox CL, Comstock RD (2007) Epidemiology of 1.6 million pediatric soccer-related injuries presenting to US emergency departments from 1990 to 2003. Am J Sports Med 35:288–293CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Schmidt-Olsen S, Bunemann LK, Lade V, Brassoe JO (1985) Soccer injuries of youth. Br J Sports Med 19:161–164CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Rosenbaum DA, Silvis ML, Williams JE, Davis SW (2009) Variation in injury risk over the course of a two-day youth club soccer tournament. Inj Prev 15:266–269CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Maehlum S, Dahl E, Daljord O (1986) Frequency of injuries in a youth soccer tournament. Phys Sportsmed 14:73–79Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Kakavelakis KN, Vlazakis S, Vlahakis I, Charissis G (2003) Soccer injuries in childhood. Scand J Med Sci Sports 13:175–178CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Schiff MA (2007) Soccer injuries in female youth players. J Adolesc Health 40:369–371CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Steffen K, Andersen TE, Bahr R (2007) Risk of injury on artificial turf and natural grass in young female football players. Br J Sports Med 41(Suppl 1):i33–i37CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Junge A, Cheung K, Edwards T, Dvorak J (2004) Injuries in youth amateur soccer and rugby players–comparison of incidence and characteristics. Br J Sports Med 38:168–172CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Söderman K, Adolphson J, Lorentzon R, Alfredson H (2001) Injuries in adolescent female players in European football: a prospective study over one outdoor soccer season. Scand J Med Sci Sports 11:299–304CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Berger-Vachon C, Gabard G, Moyen B (1986) Soccer accidents in the French Rhone-Alpes soccer association. Sports Med 3:69–77CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Brito J, Malina RM, Seabra A, Massada JL, Soares JM et al (2012) Injuries in Portuguese youth soccer players during training and match play. J Athl Train 47:191–197PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Inklaar H, Bol E, Schmikli SL, Mosterd WL (1996) Injuries in male soccer players: team risk analysis. Int J Sports Med 17:229–234CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Soligard T, Myklebust G, Steffen K, Holme I, Silvers H et al (2008) Comprehensive warm-up programme to prevent injuries in young female footballers: cluster randomised controlled trial. BMJ 337:a2469CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Froholdt A, Olsen OE, Bahr R (2009) Low risk of injuries among children playing organized soccer: a prospective cohort study. Am J Sports Med 37:1155–1160CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Yard EE, Schroeder MJ, Fields SK, Collins CL, Comstock RD (2008) The epidemiology of United States high school soccer injuries, 2005–2007. Am J Sports Med 36:1930–1937CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Rechel JA, Yard EE, Comstock RD (2008) An epidemiologic comparison of high school sports injuries sustained in practice and competition. J Athl Train 43:197–204CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Darrow CJ, Collins CL, Yard EE, Comstock RD (2009) Epidemiology of severe injuries among United States high school athletes: 2005–2007. Am J Sports Med 37:1798–1805CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Price RJ, Hawkins RD, Hulse MA, Hodson A (2004) The football association medical research programme: an audit of injuries in academy youth football. Br J Sports Med 38:466–471CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Rössler R, Donath L, Verhagen E, Junge A, Schweizer T et al (2014) Exercise-based injury prevention in child and adolescent sport: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med 44:1733–1748CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Caine D, Purcell L, Maffulli N (2014) The child and adolescent athlete: a review of three potentially serious injuries. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil 6:22CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Scase E, Cook J, Makdissi M, Gabbe B, Shuck L (2006) Teaching landing skills in elite junior Australian football: evaluation of an injury prevention strategy. Br J Sports Med 40:834–838, discussion 838CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Gholve PA, Scher DM, Khakharia S, Widmann RF, Green DW (2007) Osgood schlatter syndrome. Curr Opin Pediatr 19:44–50CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Hendrix CL (2005) Calcaneal apophysitis (Sever disease). Clin Podiatr Med Surg 22:55–62, viCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Harmon KG, Drezner JA, Gammons M, Guskiewicz KM, Halstead M et al (2013) American medical society for sports medicine position statement: concussion in sport. Br J Sports Med 47:15–26CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Marar M, McIlvain NM, Fields SK, Comstock RD (2012) Epidemiology of concussions among United States high school athletes in 20 sports. Am J Sports Med 40:747–755CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    McCrory P, Meeuwisse WH, Aubry M, Cantu B, Dvorak J et al (2013) Consensus statement on concussion in sport: the 4th international conference on concussion in sport held in Zurich, November 2012. Br J Sports Med 47:250–258CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Sim A, Terryberry-Spohr L, Wilson KR (2008) Prolonged recovery of memory functioning after mild traumatic brain injury in adolescent athletes. J Neurosurg 108:511–516CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    O’Kane JW, Spieker A, Levy MR, Neradilek M, Polissar NL et al (2014) Concussion among female middle-school soccer players. JAMA Pediatr 168:258–264CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Janda DH, Bir CA, Cheney AL (2002) An evaluation of the cumulative concussive effect of soccer heading in the youth population. Inj Control Saf Promot 9:25–31CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Steffen K, Myklebust G, Olsen OE, Holme I, Bahr R (2008) Preventing injuries in female youth football–a cluster-randomized controlled trial. Scand J Med Sci Sports 18:605–614CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Pfeiffer RP, Shea KG, Roberts D, Grandstrand S, Bond L (2006) Lack of effect of a knee ligament injury prevention program on the incidence of noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injury. J Bone Joint Surg Am 88:1769–1774CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sport, Exercise and HealthUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations