Risk factors of injuries and injury prevention in youth football: a prospective follow-up and a cluster-randomized controlled trial

The overall aim of the study is to investigate risk factors of acute and overuse injuries in youth football, and examine whether a comprehensive warm-up program is effective in preventing injuries. The study is performed during 2013–2015.


The aim of this study is to investigate anatomical, physiological, psychosocial and environmental risk factors for sports injuries, and examine whether a neuromuscular training is effective in preventing injuries. In addition, we will investigate what factors support or inhibit implementation of the preventive actions.


The Eerikkilä Sports Institute in the City of Tammela is a national football training center in Finland. In each year, the center recruits 20–30 youth clubs for a comprehensive player-development program called Sami Hyypiä Academy (SHA). 1500 young female and male players, aged 10–14 years, are selected for SHA-program annually. The participating players visit the SHA twice a year.

This injury prevention study will be carried out beside the SHA-project in 2013–2015. During each three-day-long SHA-camp players perform performance tests and fill structured questionnaires about their background information, and tactic and psychological skills. During the follow-up individual training and playing time, as well as injuries are registered.

The first stage of the study starts in autumn 2013 with the baseline tests, after which practice and injury data of the players are collected for 14 months. The tests are conducted also in spring 2014 and autumn 2014. After the third tests in December 2014 the participating teams are randomized to an intervention and control group.

The intervention starts in January 2015. The tests are repeated during spring 2015 and after the 22-weeks training to assess the training effects on players’ performance. The practice and injury data are collected also in the intervention stage. Study outcomes are sports injuries and their risk factors (including test outcomes), as well as study experiences, adherence and compliance of participants.

Expected results

We hypothesize that by training program it would be possible to improve young players’ motor skills and body control to reduce harmful forces to the musculoskeletal system and thus decrease the sports injury incidence. We will be able to investigate diverse factors that can predispose a young player to injury, and experimental and behavioural factors that may restrain participation and adherence to preventive actions.

Systematic injury prevention in youth sports is important in creating a strong basis for lifelong physical activity, health and wellbeing, and in lowering the costs of injuries.




The funding for the study (2013–2016) is applied from the Ministry of Education and Culture.


Researcher, contact

Kati Pasanen, Research and Developing Manager



Sami Hyypiä Akatemia
Suomen Palloliitto
Kilpa- ja huippu-urheilun tutkimuskeskus
Helsingin yliopisto
Jyväskylän yliopisto
Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center/Norwegian School of Sports Sciences


Last Modified: 27.11.2014


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