A Comparative Study of Injuries in High School Soccer Games by Gender

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Exercise and Sport Studies



Major Advisor

Ronald P. Pfeiffer


Werner Hoeger


Chad Harris


Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. As of 1992, at least 40 million athletes participate a year (Hoy, Linblad, & Terkersen, 1992). Since 1991, female participation in soccer has also increased dramatically and is played in 50 countries (Engstrom, Johansson, & Tornkvist, 1991).

Soccer injuries are reported to be only twenty percent less frequent than injuries sustained in American football (Xethalis & Boiardo, 1986; Backous, Friedl, Smith, Parr, & Carpine, 1988). Because soccer is a sport where the legs are used the most, injuries to the lower extremity are more frequent. The purpose of this study was to determine a relationship between gender, age, and the injury rate, type, location, severity, and mechanism of injury among high school soccer players. The subjects included (N=438) high school soccer players from seven high schools in the Treasure Valley. This included Bishop Kelly, Boise, Borah, Capital, Centennial, Eagle, and Meridian High. The subjects consisted of athletes at the varsity and junior varsity club sport levels. NATA-BOC certified athletic trainers at each high school and in the clinical setting provided the evaluations and subsequent documentation of any injury that met this studies injury definition criteria.

After reviewing the literature, the most common location of injury seems to be to the ankles, knees, and thighs (Haycock & Gillete, 1976; Ekstrand & Gillquist, 1982, 1983; Nielsen & Yde, 1989; Moller-Nielsen & Hammar, 1989; Poulsen et al., 1991; & Salokun, 1994). Regarding injury severity, the majority of injuries are classified as minor or moderate which means the players, on average, are not able to participate from one to thirty-one days. These injuries occur through both contact and noncontact mechanisms. There was no statistical significance of severity between male and female high school soccer players (pp<0.708).

The design and analysis was done using descriptive statistics looking at percentages used to develop a composite picture of soccer injuries. Injuries that met this study’s injury definition criteria were categorized into minor, moderate, major, or severe according to loss of participation time. The Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) was used to grade injuries based on severity. Statistical analysis was completed using a nonparametric Mann-Whitney U-test and a Kruskal-Wallis One-Way ANOVA.

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