The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Study Shows Soccer Players Suffer More Sports Injuries When Their Team Is Winning

Posted by on Wednesday, November 13th, 2013


The better your soccer team is doing, the more likely you are to be injured, according to a new study from researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy who assessed injury patterns over the last three World Cup tournaments. The study found that soccer stars are at the greatest risk for injury five minutes after a goal has been scored. The frequency of injury also increases when one’s team is in the lead.

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There Is A Clear Pattern To Soccer Injuries, Researchers Say

Injury frequency seems to be affected by psychological and emotional states, as much as physical. Our very own Dr. Nadia Levy sees this type of soccer injury often, explaining, “Winning often means pushing harder, trying harder, being rougher, and running faster.” So she says it’s no surprise that the star athletes seem to face the most injuries. Furthermore, Sahlgrenska researchers explained that losing teams often play more aggressively, which leads to greater injuries for those on the winning teams.

Strikers Are Most Likely To Suffer Injury

Strikers face increased pressure to peel away from defenders and score goals. There is a direct link between the number of free kicks and the number of injuries per match. The higher the free kicks, the higher the injury incidence. Strikers are at the greatest risk for injury five minutes after a yellow or red card is issued. “One theory is that players lose their concentration following disruptive breaks in play, which then increases the risk of injury,” said researcher Jaakko Ryynänen.

Long Breaks Between Matches Equal More Injuries

It may sound contradictory, but players actually suffer more injuries when there are longer recovery times between matches. Scientists posited that players lose their focus during match games after a period of several days and tend to play more aggressively or intensely when they feel more rested.

Treatment of Soccer Injuries

A sports medicine doctor should be a person’s first stop for treatment. Here, a number of professionals –from physical therapists and podiatrists, to athletic trainers and physical therapists — can be employed to address the full extent of the injury. Emphasis is placed on mitigating acute pain and correcting the root cause of the injury for long-term relief. Sports medicine physicians understand that their athletic clients want to get back to the game as quickly as possible, which is why the best treatment facilities feature innovative technology such as laser therapy, electromagnetic wave treatment, hyperbaric oxygen chambers, and modern surgical techniques that promise less invasive methods of healing — not to mention, quicker healing times.

Preventing Soccer Injuries

This research can help coaches know when to replace players who are at greater risk for injury. Once a goal has been scored, for instance, a new crop of players should go out onto the field within five minutes. Furthermore, players noted for aggressive behavior should be temporarily sent off field, as they do in hockey.



If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.