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A Journal on Sports Medicine

Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
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Medicina dello Sport 2008 June;61(2):111-9


language: English, Italian

Epidemiology and risk factors in soccer

Volpi P. 1, 2

1 Sports Traumatology Center and Arthroscopic Surgery, IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, Milan 2 Medical consulant to Italian Football Association (Associazione Italiana Calciatori) (AIC)


Football is the world's most popular sport. The greater frequency of accidents in recent years in both professional and amateur football, youth football and women's football has been the subject of several studies and publications. While it is true that markedly improved medical knowledge now ensures faster, more accurate and more precise diagnosis, it is equally true that little is still known about how to prevent injuries and little, indeed, is done to prevent them. Many accidents are unforeseeable as they are the natural consequences of a sport in which speed, strength and explosive action are accompanied by physical contact, tackling and collisions with an opponent. Many others, however, could be avoided because they stem from mistakes, underestimation of the risk factors, or insufficient consideration of the ways in which they can be prevented. Epidemiological data are used to formulate appropriate preventive measures. Football is usually regarded as a sport in which injuries are the result of contact, though in some respects it is similar to collision sports. A distinction must naturally be drawn between injuries occurring in young players, women, amateurs and professionals. Consideration of the incidence due to multiple factors is also of importance. Risk factors can be divided in primary such as technical and tactical aspects, physical and athletic aspects, psychophysical stress, pitches and shoes; and in secondary such as age, previous traumatic events, physical and biological characteristics, life style, severity of referees and fair play

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