DOI: 10.1007/s00167-023-07517-6 ISSN: 0942-2056

Higher age and present injury at the start of the season are risk factors for in‐season injury in amateur male and female football players—a prospective cohort study

Sofi Sonesson, Hanna Lindblom, Martin Hägglund
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery



To describe the injury prevalence, injury pattern, and potential baseline risk factors for injuries in male and female adolescent and adult amateur football players.


This prospective study followed adolescent and adult amateur football players over one season March–October 2020. The study was completed by 462 players (130 men, age 20.0 ± 5.7, 14–46 years) who answered a baseline survey and a weekly web survey during the season. A total of 1456 weekly surveys were registered from males and 5041 from females. Injuries were recorded with the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center Overuse Injury Questionnaire (OSTRC‐O2). Potential baseline risk factors (age, performance of strength/conditioning training, participation in other sports, perceived importance of sporting success, self‐rated training and match load, perceived balance between training/match load and recovery, previous/present injury at start of season, and injury beliefs) and their association with injury were analysed with Poisson regressions within each sex.


Males reported 95 injuries (262 injury weeks, weekly prevalence 18.0% (95% CI 16.1–20.1)) and females 350 injuries (1206 injury weeks, weekly prevalence 23.9% (95% CI 22.8–25.1)). Gradual‐onset injuries accounted for 57% of the injuries in males and 66% in females. For males, substantial injuries were most common in the hip/groin (weekly prevalence 3.8%), ankle (2.1%), posterior thigh (2.0%), and knee (2.0%); and for females, in the knee (4.3%), ankle (2.5%), and lower leg/Achilles tendon (2.0%). Significant risk factors for injury were higher age (rate ratio males 1.05 per year increase (95% CI 1.02–1.08), females 1.03 (95% CI 1.01–1.05)), and present injury at baseline (males 1.92 (95% CI 1.27–2.89), females 1.58 (95% CI 1.19–2.09)).


At any given week, almost one in five male and one in four female amateur football players reported new or ongoing injuries. Hip/groin injuries were more frequent in males, while female players had a higher prevalence of knee injuries. Older players and those with an existing injury at the start of the season were more prone to new injury during the season. Rehabilitation of pre‐season injury and complaints are key to reduce the injury burden in amateur football.

Level of evidence

Level II.

Trial registration number NCT04272047, Clinical trials

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