Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center

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Information about a piece of news titled Illness is not a major contributor to illness in male professional football

Illness is not a major contributor to illness in male professional football


A recent study from the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center (OSTRC) and the Football Research Group Sweden (FRG) have shown that illness is not a major contributor to illness in male professional football compared to illness.

Over the last years, several studies have been conducted on the risk of injury in male professional football. However, there are limited data on the nature, type and incidence of illness in football. Previous studies indicate that gastrointestinal and respiratory tract illnesses are most common.

3 premier league teams + UEFA participating

All clubs in the male premier leagues in Norway (Tippeligaen), Sweden (Allsvenskan) and England (English Premier League) and teams participating in the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League were invited to participate in the study from 2011 to 2014.

A recordable illness episode was any physical or psychological complaint (not related to injury) which resulted in the player being unable to participate fully in training or match play. A player was regarded as ill until he was declared to be able to fully participate in all types of training and available for match selection by the medical team.

Based on the type of illness stated on the illness form, illness were classified as respiratory tract illness (incl. asthma and allergy), gastrointestinal illness (stomach pain, diarrhoea, and bowl problems), unexplained fatigue, neurological (incl. headache, migraine and nausea), psychological, cardiovascular, ophthalmological, dental or renal illness.

Project leader was John Bjørneboe from the OSTRC (right).  

A total of 1914 illness episodes were recorded. The illness incidence was 1.5 per 1000 player-days meaning that, on average, a player experienced an illness episode every second season, with a median of 3 days absence per illness episode. Severe illness (absence >4 weeks) constituted 2% of all illnesses. Respiratory tract illness was most common (58%), followed by gastrointestinal illness (38%). Respiratory tract illness, gastrointestinal illness and cardiovascular illness caused the highest illness burden 

Read the paper in BJSM.