Injury incidence and patterns in U10-U14 soccer players within Belgian football academies: A prospective cohort study examining the risk and/or protective factors associated with growth, maturation, physical fitness and motor coordination.

Project Details


Participation in organized sports is key to physical activity, but also involves a significant injury risk. A major challenge is to identify the risk and/or protective factors for the injury incidence and patterns observed. With soccer being the most popular sport worldwide including a large number of (pre)pubertal players, this project is initially focused on elite youth football. Although more and more adult driven, a different susceptibility of the (immature) muscular-skeletal system to traumatic and possibly to a larger extent overuse injury can be assumed. To date, epidemiological research within this population is limited and often faces methodological/statistical shortcomings leading to inconclusive evidence. Also, the determinant role of growth, maturity status, physical fitness and especially motor coordination is not fully understood. Taking these intrinsic characteristics into account and using a prospective cohort study design following U10-U14 elite soccer players from multiple academies for several seasons, our MAIN PURPOSE is to predict the time-to-injury (or between recurrent injuries) as well as the number of injuries adjusted for individual exposure times. In other words, which profiles are most likely to remain (re-)injury-free and to experience few injuries. Our innovative project will ultimately lead to the development of a (theoretical) predictive model supporting screening/prevention initiatives as well as safe/efficient soccer practices in children.
Effective start/end date1/10/1630/09/20


  • organized sports
  • injury
  • risk factors
  • physical science

Flemish discipline codes

  • Physical education and development curriculum and pedagogics