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Title: Injuries in professional football: identification of aetiological factors
Authors: Hawkins, Richard D.
Keywords: Sports science
Risk assessment
Health & safety
Issue Date: 1998
Publisher: © Richard David Hawkins
Abstract: UK health and safety legislation aims to protect employees from injury at work; professional footballers as employees are therefore covered by this legislation. A risk assessment approach to health and safety issues, as required by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992, has been undertaken to establish the epidemiological and aetiological factors related to injuries in professional football and to identify management and training procedures to reduce the incidence and severity of injuries. Issues of injury frequency and causation during the period 1994 to 1997 were addressed through two routes. First, during the 1994 World Cup Finals, 1996 European Championships, and 1994 to 1997 English league seasons via match analysis. Second, player injuries at four professional football league clubs were recorded by the club physiotherapist. These results provided complementary evidence showing an overall injury rate of 8.5/1000 playing hours, injury rates during training and matches being 3.5/1000 and 27.7/1000 playing hours, respectively. Two thirds of the injuries occurred during competitive match play, the remainder during training, the highest incidences of match and training injuries taking place during the first month of the playing season (P<O.05) and the pre-season period (P<0.05), respectively. The lower extremity was the site of 87% of the reported injuries, 41% and 22% of all injuries being muscular strains and re-injuries, respectively. Injury profiles differed between youth and senior players (P<0.01). Additional information was recorded through an assessment of club training routines and a survey of professional footballers' knowledge and application of injury prevention strategies. Issues relating to current injury prevention practices, player's perception of injury risk and advice received relating to these issues were addressed. These results provided supportive evidence showing poor understanding of and adherence to accepted athlete training procedures and the implementation of injury prevention practices. The studies suggest that a substantial number of injuries could be prevented in English professional football through identification of the hazards presented to players, an assessment of the existing risk levels and implementation of more rigorous control measures. Deficiencies in injury prevention practices indicate a need for wider education of players and coaches regarding the hazards and risks associated with professional football and the availability of medical and sports science knowledge to reduce these levels of risk.
Description: Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/7520
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)

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