The epidemiology of injuries of female high school soccer players in the eThekwini district
Sentsomedi, Keamogetse Refilwe
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Introduction: Participation of young females in soccer has started to increase in the past few years. Females participating in soccer are more vulnerable to injuries than males due to the nature of the sport especially because the sport is characterised as a vigorous, high intensity, intermittent ball and contact activity. Objective: This study sought to determine the epidemiology of injuries in high school female soccer players in the eThekwini district. Method: A quantitative approach using a cross sectional survey was used to determine the epidemiology of injuries in female high school soccer players in the eThekwini district. One-hundred-and-ninety-seven female high school soccer players, between the ages of 14 to 19 years who have played soccer for at least one season, from 27 female high schools in the eThekwini district were invited to participate. A self-administered questionnaire was used to determine the demographic profile of the players and the reported prevalence of injuries in the soccer players. The study also determined the profile of soccer related injuries, management of injuries, identified risk factors for injury, and compared injuries occurring during training and during matches. Results: Out of a total of 85 respondents only 31 sustained injuries. The injury prevalence for the season was 36.5%. Only 61 injuries (71.8%) were reported by the injured players. The rate of injury was 90 per 1000 athlete exposure hours during the season. Only two female players reported the five injuries while all 29 female players sustained at least one injury. The defenders (31.7%) and midfielders (28.6%) sustained the most injuries. Most injuries reported were contact in nature (12.9%). More injuries occurred during training (12.9%) rather than during matches (8.2%). The lower extremity (77.8%) was injured more than the upper extremity (22.2%). The knee (22.2%) and ankle (15.9%) were the most frequently injured body parts. Muscle injury (23.5%) was the most commonly reported followed by bruising (10.6%). Conclusion: Prevalence of injuries was high in the cohort studied. The lower limb, specifically the knee and ankle were most commonly injured. Muscle injury and bruising were the most common injury affecting the lower extremity. It is recommended that the study be extended to a larger cohort of school children.