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Injury-Free Children and Adolescents: Towards Better Practice in Swedish Football (FIT project)

Journal article
Authors Solveig E. S. Hausken
Natalie Barker-Ruchti
Astrid Schubring
Stefan Grau
Published in Research Ideas and Outcomes
Volume 4
Issue e30729
Pages 16
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science
Pages 16
Language en
Keywords Injury development; soccer; youth; interdisciplinary research methodology
Subject categories Sport and Fitness Sciences, Family Medicine, Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


This interdisciplinary research project will produce evidence-based recommendations on how injuries in Swedish youth football (soccer) can be prevented. Fewer injuries will positively impact athlete health, performance and career longevity and have the potential to promote life-long physical activity and wellbeing. Injury pattern research demonstrates that injuries are a significant problem in (Swedish) youth sport. Football has a higher traumatic and overuse injury rate than many contact/ collision sports (e.g., field hockey, basketball). In research on youth football, the incidence of overuse training injuries was measured as high as 15.4 injuries per 1000 training hours, and the incidence of traumatic and overuse match injuries was 47.5 injuries per 1000 match hours. The injury frequency is alarming and applies to the 54% of children aged 7-14 and the 39% of youths aged 15-19 years who participate in Swedish organised sports. A large body of research identifies injury risk factors and preventative strategies; however, as the recent IOC consensus statement on youth athletic development points out, the existing, mostly bio-medical knowledge does not provide effective evidence-based injury prevention strategies. To address this deficit, interdisciplinary and context-driven knowledge on injury development in youth sport is needed. The proposed project will produce scientific evidence through four consecutive studies: a) Questionnaire to register the types, frequency and management of injuries; b) Laboratory testing of biomechanical, clinical and training-specific parameters to establish individual physical and sport-specific dispositions; c) Observation of sporting contexts to understand sporting cultures, coaching methods and coach-athlete relationships; and d) Interviews with coaches and players to recognize knowledge that shapes coaching and training. The sample of youth players will be recruited from Sweden’s most popular and injury-prone sport: football. Each of the four studies will conduct its own data production and analyses, and a collective analysis will produce integrated evidence. Concrete recommendations for best sporting practice will be developed, which will serve sporting federations, sport education institutions, coaches, sport support staff and players.

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