Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center

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Information about project titled 'Mechanisms of injuries and incidents in Icelandic soccer - Match analysis'

Mechanisms of injuries and incidents in Icelandic soccer - Match analysis

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Project status: Published
Project manager: Arni Arnason
Supervisor(s): Roald Bahr, Lars Engebretsen
Coworker(s): Albin Tenga


Although soccer is supposed to be the most popular sport in the world and injury rate is high, video analysis of incidents and injuries in soccer have not been used to study injury mechanisms and risk factors.


The aims of this study are:

a) Develop methods, based on video analysis, to analyze mechanisms of injuries and high-risk incidents in soccer.

b) Increase knowledge about injury mechanisms and high-risk incidents in soccer, which later can be used in preventive strategies.


Participants in the study were male soccer players from nine of ten soccer teams in the Icelandic elite soccer league, round 160 players. Method: The Icelandic soccer season lasts from Mai 20th to September 20th 1999, during which time Icelandic elite soccer league played 90 matches and the teams took part in about 25 matches in the cup. Out of these, videotapes from 79 matches were available at the Sports Department of the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service - Television, and they were all reviewed by the same physical therapist. An incident was recorded if the match was interrupted by the referee, a player lay down for more than 15 sec and the player appeared to be in pain. These incidents and the events leading up to them were transferred to master videotape to further analyses. Injuries were defined as incidents forcing the player to leave the field because of injury, or he could not participate in match or practice next day.

The master videotape was analyzed by a physical therapist and a soccer expert with long experience in match analyses. Each incident was classified in attacking or defending playing phase. Attack was further classified in brake down attacks, long attacks and attacks after set play. Many other factors were registered such aslocation on the field, possible effect of attack in view of scoring, the degree of ball control, the defending team balance, last team event before incident occurs, the intensity of the exposed player, individual action by he exposed player, type of duel and the players attention etc. Injuries were also prospectively registered by each team physical therapist on a special registration form. These data were compared to the videotapes to confirm which of the incidents should be defined as injuries.