Hip and groin time-loss injuries decreased slightly but injury burden remained constant in men's professional football: the 15-year prospective UEFA Elite Club Injury Study

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Abstract

Background

Hip and groin injuries are common in men's professional football, but the time-trend of these injuries is not known.

Aim

To investigate hip and groin injury rates, especially time-trends, in men's professional football over 15 consecutive seasons.

Study design

Prospective cohort study.

Setting

Men's professional football.

Methods

47 European teams were followed prospectively for a varying number of seasons between 2001/2002 and 2015/2016, totalling 268 team seasons. Time-loss injuries and individual player exposure during training and matches were recorded. Injury rate was defined as the number of injuries/1000 hours and injury burden as the number of lay-off days/1000 hours. Time-trends for total hip and groin injuries and adductor-related injury rates were analysed using Poisson regression, and injury burden was analysed using a negative binomial regression model.

Results

Hip and groin injuries contributed 1812 out of 12 736 injuries (14%), with adductor-related injury as the most common of hip and groin injuries (n=1139, 63%). The rates of hip and groin injury and adductor-related injury were 1.0/1000 hours and 0.6/1000 hours, and these rates decreased significantly with on average 2% (Exp(b)=0.98, 95% CI 0.97 to 0.99, P=0.003) and 3% (Exp(b)=0.97, 95% CI 0.95 to 0.99, P<0.001) per season (year on year), respectively. The seasonal trend of hip and groin injury burden did not improve (Exp(b)=0.99, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.01, P=0.40).

Conclusions

Hip and groin injuries constitute a considerable part of all time-loss injuries in men's professional football. Although there was a promising slight decreasing trend in the rates of hip and groin injury (as a category) and adductor-related injury (as a specific diagnosis), the injury burden remained at a consistent level over the study period.

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