As we know, football is one of the most popular sports in Australia and across the world. Thankfully this means that there has been plenty of research when it comes to injuries and injury prevention. One new study that was done in Australia, aimed at investigating the impact and prevalence of non-time loss injuries in semi-professional men’s football.
25 teams from 10 semi-professional football clubs, volunteered to participate in the study during the 2016 season. Clubs were recruited from the NSW National Premier League and Illawarra Premier League in Australia. A total of 218 players were involved and all players partook in a minimum of three football-based sessions per week (training and a match).
This research demonstrated that those experiencing non-time loss physical complaints (or niggles) were 3-6 times more likely to suffer an injury resulting in missed games/training in the following 7 days. Overall, 68% of all time loss injuries were preceded by a ‘niggle’, with 94% of knee and 90% of hamstring time loss injuries preceded by a non-time loss complaint in the same location.
This study highlights that the presence of a ‘niggle’ clearly increased the risk of a subsequent time loss injury and improving communication between coaches, managers and players within a club can reduce injury incidence and sustain player availability. There were also strong associations observed between non-time loss reports preceding a time injury in the same location, suggesting it may also be possible to identify location-specific injury risks.
Reference: Whalan, M., et al. (2020). “Do Niggles Matter? – Increased injury risk following physical complaints in football (soccer).” Science and Medicine in Football 4(3): 216-224.