Friday, March 9, 2007

Score-celebration injuries among soccer players

New study indicates score-celebration feats result in serious injuries among soccer players

In one of the most popular sports worldwide, extensive attention is given to the "trademark" score-celebrations performed by professional top-level soccer players. While the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) devotes a page of their website to these dramatic celebrations, there has been no mention of the sometimes serious injuries and loss of playing time that have followed these events.
In a recent study published in the July 2005 issue of The American Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers examined these events among professional soccer players in an effort to prevent future injuries.

Dr. Bulent Zeren from the Center for Orthopadedics and Sports Traumatology in Turkey, teamed up with Dr. Haluk H. Oztekin, to report on 152 male soccer players from professional leagues in Turkey who had been treated for injuries incurred during a competitive match. Over the duration of two playing seasons, 9 of the 152 players had injured themselves while performing a post-goal celebration. The injuries ranged from ligament and muscle strains as a result of 'Sliding' across the field to rib and clavicle fractures as a result of the players 'Piling Up' on each other. The most severe injury was an ankle fracture that required surgery. These injuries took place in 9 separate games where the field was natural turf and was dry in all but the incident requiring surgery. Although each patient was enrolled in an early rehabilitation program, the average playing time lost was 5 weeks.

The researchers of this study conclude that exaggerated celebrations after making a goal, such as sliding, piling up, and tackling teammates, can result in serious injury. Not only should general guidelines be in place to prevent injuries, but coaches and team physicians should teach behavior-modification to minimize injury risks. In addition, the research suggests that stricter rules should be enforced for penalizing this type of behavior in an effort to prevent score-celebration injuries.

The article "Score-Celebration Injuries Among Soccer Players" can be found on The American Journal of Sports Medicine's website at

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