Epidemiology and risk factor

Piero Volpi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Football is the world's most popular sport. According to the International Football Federation (FIFA), there are more than 200 club members in its 203 affiliated nations. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has 23 members in 51 countries while the Italian Football Association (FIGC) estimates that there are 1 million players in Italy, including more than 3,000 professionals. Many players are obviously young, and the number of women footballers is constantly growing. The greater frequency of accidents in recent years in professional and amateur football [1-3], youth football [4-6], and women's football [7, 8] has been the subject of several researches and publications.Many footballers have had to stop playing and undergo medical treatment and surgery followed by rehabilitation periods before being able to resume playing. Those who have been able and lucky enough to take part in professional soccer know that a second, or even a tenth of a second, is time enough for the occurrence of an accident that may require days, weeks, or months to put right and which results in considerable physical and mental distress. While it is true that markedly improved medical knowledge now ensures faster, more accurate, and more precise diagnosis, it is equally true that little is known about how to prevent injuries and little, indeed, is done to prevent them. Today's professionals must be on their guard against two great threats to their health and their career, namely, doping and accidents. In both cases, an understanding of preventive measures and the timely acquisition of clear, scientifically validated information constitute the first line of defence. Many accidents are unforeseeable, as they are the natural consequences of a sport in which speed, strength, and explosive action are accompanied by physical contact, tackling, and collisions with an opponent.Many others, however, could be avoided because they stem from mistakes, underestimation of risk factors, or insufficient consideration of the ways in which they can be prevented. The current opinion is that while improvements are continually sought in a player's physical, technical, and tactical performance, little is being done to prevent and contain the number of accidents.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFootball Traumatology: Current Concepts: From Prevention to Treatment
PublisherSpringer Milan
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)8847004187, 9788847004184
Publication statusPublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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