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An injury audit in high-level male youth soccer players from English, Spanish, Uruguayan and Brazilian academies

Hall, Elliott CR and Larruskain, Jon and Gil, Susana M and Lekue, Jose A and Baumert, Philipp and Rienzi, Edgardo and Moreno, Sacha and Tannure, Marcio and Murtagh, Conall F and Ade, Jack D and Squires, Paul and Orme, Patrick and Anderson, Liam and Whitworth-Turner, Craig M and Morton, James P and Drust, Barry and Williams, Alun G and Erskine, Robert M (2020) An injury audit in high-level male youth soccer players from English, Spanish, Uruguayan and Brazilian academies. Physical Therapy in Sport. ISSN 1466-853X (In Press)

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Abstract

To identify the most common injury types/locations in high-level male youth soccer players (YSP). Design Prospective cohort surveillance study. Setting Professional soccer club academies. Participants Six hundred and twenty-four high-level male YSP [Under 9 (U9) to U23 year-old age groups] from academies in England, Spain, Uruguay and Brazil. Main outcome measures Injury type, location and severity were recorded during one season. Injury severity was compared between age groups, while injury type and location were compared between nations. Results Four hundred and forty-three training or match injuries were recorded, giving an injury rate of 0.71 per player. Non-contact injuries were most common (58.5%), with most (44.2%) resolved between 8 and 28 days. Most injuries (75.4%) occurred in the lower limbs, with muscle (29.6%) the most commonly injured tissue. U14 and U16 suffered a greater number of severe injuries relative to U12 and U19/U20/U23/Reserves. Tendon injury rate was higher in Brazil vs. Spain (p < 0.05), with low back/sacrum/pelvis injury rate highest in Spain (p < 0.05). Conclusions The proportion of severe injuries in U14 and U16 suggests YSP injury risk is maturation-dependent. Minimal differences in type and location between high-level YSP from four different countries suggest injury rates in this population are geographically similar.

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