The mechanism and prevention of injury in soccer
The study was designed to provide an overview and a unique insight into the musculoskeletal demands of the professional footballer in Scotland. It can be concluded that preseason training, although non competitive, is a period of high risk and its contents must be re-examined. Emphasis should be placed on injury prevention, especially from overload and overuse injuries, to ensure peak performance and team stability. During season 1993-1994, 30 players (8.8%) required surgery and shared a total of 33 operations. Almost 1 in 10 players, therefore, required surgery during the season with all that entails. Not surprisingly, knee surgery was the commonest procedure, with 13 operations being performed on 11 players. Two players initially had arthroscopic examinations and subsequently required further reconstructive procedures. Surprisingly, the next most frequent operation was that of groin or hernia repair (6). Interestingly, 68% (23) of injuries requiring surgery during season 1993-1994 occurred during training, rather than as a result of a competitive match. This was confirmed when the mechanism of injury was assessed in detail, as 25 (75%) of injuries which required surgery were non contact. Of the 14 players requiring knee surgery, it is of concern that 6 (44.8%) of these players had previously required knee surgery, although there was no strong statistical evidence of an association (Fisher's exact test, p=0.094). Of the 342 players studied for the full season, 56 had reported previous knee surgery. Therefore, 19% of players who had previously had knee surgery required further surgery which would merit further research. There was also no strong evidence that the proportion of players requiring surgery differs for the different positions (Chi-squared=4.446, df=2, p=0.108). This study has provided a unique insight into the musculoskeletal demands of professional football. The mechanism and prevention of injury in soccer, has been studied in detail. This will provide a rational basis for future planning in the hope of optimising performance and minimising injury and its recurrence in soccer.