The UEFA model in identification of types, severity and mechanism of injuries among professional footballers in the Nigerian Premier League
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Background. Association football, otherwise known as soccer, is the most popular sport in the world. The increase in the popularity of the game and the expectations from players make injury risk in football high. Objective. To describe the types, severity, prevalence and mechanism of injuries among professional footballers in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL). Methods. The Union of European Football Association (UEFA) Injury Study Questionnaire was used for data collection. A total of 240 footballers from 11 clubs, who participated in the 2011/2012 NPL premiership season, was selected through proportionate stratified random sampling technique, and the participants were studied using a prospective cohort study design for 6 months. Descriptive statistics of means, percentages and frequency distributions were used to answer the research questions. Results. The mean (standard deviation) age, height and weight of the injured footballers was 22.9 (3.4) years, 1.69 (0.05) m and 71.3 (3.9) kg, respectively. There was a high injury prevalence (78%) associated with actual league games, whereas the incidence rate per 1 000-hour exposure was 300.2 exposure-hours from 19 games within 6 months. Sprain (32%) was the predominant type of injury recorded. The tackle event (34%) was the predominant mechanism of injury recorded, and 63% of the injuries led to 1 - 3 days of player absence from football activities. Most of the injuries were recurrent injuries (63%). Conclusion. This study showed a high occurrence of injuries in the NPL, in particular associated with league (competitive) games. The findings of this study will serve to guide the development and implementation of injury prevention strategies in the NPL.