Injury risk factors in young footballers



Injury prevention is a global concern when it comes to high performance sport. Caring for the athletes happen earlier and earlier, with a view to charging higher results even in training categories.

In view of this issue, we brought in this publication considerations about injury risk factors in football in the base categories, with informational purposes for coaches, athletic trainers and football lovers and other sports.

The injuries of the footballers in general occur mainly in the lower limbs, originating not in physical contact, but by sprains, especially knees, affecting anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament, and meniscus (PRICE et al. 2004).

Injury risks can be potentiated in categories of training because of the involvement with the young growth stage (RUMPF and Cronin, 2002), and due to the advance of the training load, there may be excessive and repetitive overload, increasing the risk of lesions (Hewett, PARENTAL and MYER, 2002).

Maturation is another factor that can intervene in this issue because, in the spurt period is where one must take great care, because the various structural changes the young man is susceptible to injury (LI, et al., 1998).

Recent trends show a range of risk factors for injuries in young football players, in both genders, however, there are more scientific evidence related to the male sex. It is interesting to draw up specific research on gender in order to evaluate the differences between the genders in each age group (ALENTON-GELI et al., 2014).

Role of growth and maturation

Michaud et al. (2001), reported that the growth and maturity can not be controlled, but must be monitored due to the great influences of these risk of injuries in young athletes.

In which the maturation period is already complete, the risk of bone injuries is reduced and increases the risk of muscle damage, despite increased muscle mass. There are reports that during this period, due to increased training load and various movements, the risk of sprains, strains, and other injuries, becomes larger (FRIEL et al, 2006;. FORD et al., 2010).

Be aware of the individuality of growth and maturation is essential for injury prevention therefore prevents unbalanced development of muscle and joint structures (Lee et al., 2009). The spurt period noteworthy since at that time, due to the sudden increase of the articular structure, muscle strengthening should occur at the same rate, resulting in better balance if done properly without excessively straining the muscle groups (SHEEHAM, SIPPRELL and BODEN, 2012).

The literature reports that during the growth spurt period, the adolescent goes through the phase of strangeness, in which it takes a while to adapt the motor gestures he performed with the new structures such as length of the lower limbs, increased muscle mass (PADUA et al., 2006, Lloyd and Oliver, 2012). This step can be misinterpreted by coaches who think they are struggling to maintain the level of your athlete and too burden, increasing their risk of injury.

Movement skill

This factor is important to provide a more refined drive, with better articular (HARMON and DICK, 1998). Frequent neural stimulation can then provide the motor programming, preparatory and reflexive muscle activity, which act on joint stabilization (CHIMERA et al., 2004).

Individuals who lack this skill, can compromise their stability when they reach the stage of puberty (Hewett, PARENTAL and MYER, 2002). Myer, Ford and Hewett (2004) suggest that the main age for improvement of motor skills is the pre pubertal stage.

The muscle imbalance is another variable to be considered in the occurrence of lesions, therefore, cause too much pressure on less strengthened muscles may be the relationship between muscles of one contralateral limbs (MOUTJOY et al., 2008).


Fatigue occurred after a sequence of exercises can be a risk indicator of muscle damage by reducing the joint stabilization (Oliver et al., 2014).

Studies report that the incidence of injury is increased by players who are exposed to high levels of fatigue, they are professionals or young (Cloke et al, 2009;. Ekstrand et al, 2011).

It is suggested that in the athletes’ fatigue state are affected by a decrease in their motor control, and therefore in stabilizing their movements, making them more susceptible to muscle injury (MYER et al., 2011), especially late in the first time and the second time, which are already higher stages of fatigue.

One issue to consider is chronic fatigue, where researchers reported that prolonged fatigue after intense training or competitive match eccentric cause fatigue and electromechanical delay (HOGAN and GROSS, 2003). It is suggested that this occurs because of postsynaptic events (Warren et al., 2001).

Previous Injury

Commonly noticed the occurrence of repetitive injury in a particular part of the body athletes. In fact, the occurrence of previous injury leads to easier occurrence of a new lesion in the same location (Goosens et al., 2015). The occurrence of a knee injury, for example, can reach levels of up to twice the risk of injury at the same location (Hurley, 1997).

It is of great importance tracing of lesions previously occurred with the athlete and how treatment is designed as a the wrongly matches return, enhances the risk of injury due to failure in the performance of engines and compensation gestures due to injury (Read et al., 2015).

Risk factors should be carefully mitigated with training methods with thorough planning and special care with athletes with previous injuries.