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Previous Injury Increases Risk for Elite Athletes

Hamstring, groin, knee injuries likely to recur

THURSDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- Previous injury is an important risk factor for football injury, according to a Swedish study that appears in the July 19 online issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Using prospective data from 197 players from 12 elite Swedish football teams spanning the 2001 and 2002 seasons, Martin Hagglund, M.D., of Linkoping University in Linkoping, Sweden, and colleagues report that players injured in the 2001 season were 2.7 times more likely than their non-injured colleagues to suffer another injury in the 2002 season.

Football players with a previous hamstring, groin or knee joint injury have two to three times the risk of sustaining an identical injury in the same leg during the following season, compared with their counterparts who have not experienced such injuries. There was no such link for ankle sprains, the report indicates. Moreover, age was not found to be a risk factor for injury, according to the findings.

Anatomically unrelated injuries may be due to remaining deficits in physical conditioning, proprioception, altered movement patterns after a previous injury or a player's risk-taking behavior, the authors explain. Identical recurrent injuries, however, may be related to inadequate rehabilitation or premature return to play.

"The high recurrence rate of football injuries clearly indicates that secondary prevention of recurrence is a key point in reducing the overall incidence of injury," they conclude.

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