Football injuries - 2 players' legs kicking a football
Photo by Jannik Skorna on Unsplash
Football (also referred to as soccer) is described as the beautiful game.

It is arguably the world’s most popular sport.

It has massive followers across geographies, cultures, gender and social class.

In rich and poor countries, football is played informally in backyards, on the streets and street corners, and in any open spaces.

Grassroots’ football is played and enjoyed in schools and in communities inspiring passion.

Organised into associations, professional clubs, national leagues and confederations; and integrated into supply chains in goods and services around the world, football is big business.

The elite football global tournament is the FIFA Senior World Cup.

Since 1930, the FIFA World Cup football tournament has held every 4 years.

This is except in 1942 and 1946 when (during World War 2), the tournament did not hold.

In 2018, between 14 June and 15 July, Russia hosted 32 national teams from Africa; Asia; Europe; North, Central America and Caribbean; Oceania; and South America; and officials to the 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup.

The tournament attracted the best players and their technical and support teams and millions of fans to Russia.

Billions of football fans from all over the world glued to television sets and handheld devices.

Indeed, football matches and tournaments bring lots of excitement and ‘feel good’ for billions of people around the world.

Footballers that play in the World Cup are usually in top physical and mental condition and form.

The game and the tournament are physically and mentally demanding.

The 23-member squad of the national football teams participating in the World Cup have to be very talented footballers and physically fit.

This is because football is associated with physical injuries, which might be minor or severe.

This has implications on the prevention and treatment of football injuries; and the impact on the careers of footballers.

It also impacts the fans, football clubs and football associations that invest in them.

What about Football Injuries?

Studies suggest that there are:

  • between 9 and 35 injuries per 1000 hours of football in adults;
  • between 0.5 and 13 injuries per 1000 hours of football in adolescents;
  • older players are more likely to get injured;
  • female footballers have a higher rate of injuries than male footballers;
  • and overall, injuries are more likely in competitive football matches than during training.
Common sites for injuries

Injuries can occur in any part of the body and may result from poor tackles, accidental blow and fouls; poor techniques and physical condition; and inappropriate protective gears.

While the joints, muscles and tendons and ligaments are particularly vulnerable to football injuries, fractures and head injuries may also occur.

The physical demands of the sport can complicate existing heart conditions (known or unknown) at a cost to career and life.

Some of the commonest football injuries include:

  • Injury to the muscles at the back of the thigh known as the hamstring muscles
  • Injuries to the knee joint which can affect the cartilages inside and outside of the knee; or injury can affect the ligaments that keep the knee joint intact, notably the anterior cruciate ligament
  • Injury to the ankle joint
  • Injury to the groin / pelvic region may result from the stresses associated with kicking, turning and running, which may lead to Inguinal Hernia

While there are rules and requirements of referees and assistants officiating football matches, aimed at preventing foul play that may cause moderate to severe injuries, unfortunately, injuries still occur.

The good news is that most football injuries can be successfully treated.

But, some injuries may require a long time to heal and for the footballer to fully recover.

It is required that professional footballers undergo regular physical examination and tests to identify any pre-existing conditions for appropriate management.

No doubt, footballers love playing football. 

The beautiful game has millions of fans.

While not the most dangerous sport – it can have serious injuries as we show above.

Editing by AskAwayHealth Team


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