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Study: Young footballers more prone to training injuries than other athletes

The study followed 730 young footballers and recommended ankle- and knee-strengthening exercises to help prevent injury.

Jalkapallo, kuvituskuva
Image: Tomi Hänninen

Children who play football are injured more often during practice than their peers who play other sports, according to new research from the Tampere-based Centre for Health Promotion Research, UKK.

The UKK study tracked 730 nine to 14-year-old footballers from across the country for 20 weeks and looked at the number of injuries they reported. Researchers gathered information via text messages about players’ injuries on a weekly basis.

They found that 38 percent sustained at least one unforeseen injury during that time, while 37 percent were hurt in situations where they did not come into contact with the ball or other players.

According to the study, young footballers most often reported ankle injuries, while knee injuries were also quite common among players in this age group.

The study said that there was no link between age and the risk of injury, but noted that girls tended to get hurt more than boys, especially in cases of ankle injuries.

Researchers involved in the study suggested that coaches could add more exercises to the training programme to help prevent ankle and knee injuries. It noted that such injuries may cause problems later in life.

A previous large-scale study reported in 2018 found that knee injuries were common in sports that involved a great deal of running, such as football, basketball and floorball (salibandy).

In that case, the researcher recommended proper warm-up and strengthening exercises.

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