Master athletes: No evidence of increased incidence of injury in football code athletes
Date of this Version
The World Masters Games, held quadrennially, is the largest international sporting competition in terms of participant numbers. Yet this cohort remains proportionately under investigated. An online survey using an open-source specialized survey application software program was utilized to investigate the 2009 Sydney World Masters Games (SWMG) football code athletes (association football, touch football, rugby union). A total of 931 masters athletes (28.2% response rate, aged 29 - 72 yrs, mean = 47.6, SD ± 7.1, 52.5% male) completed the survey, with touch football reporting the highest incidence of injury (29.2%) followed by rugby (27.0%) and soccer (21.2%). Analyzing injury data (t-tests, chi square) identified patterns in injury location (legs (11.2%, p < 0.01) followed by knees, feet and ankles) and significant (p < 0.01) classification patterns (muscle/tendon strain/tear (13.0%, p < 0.05), inflammation (6.1%), joint pain (6.0%) and ligament sprain/tear (5.8%)). There were also significant differences (p < 0.01) compared to general and elite sporting population data. For masters football athletes at the SWMG, the injury incidence during preparation for the tournament has similarities to, but is in fact significantly less than for these other sporting populations. Some gender and sport based differences in injury location and classification type were identified. There were also no significant age related changes in injury nature (classification type, location, incidence, time off work or training). Therefore these findings do not support the premise of masters football code athletes having a higher incidence of injury as compared to younger athletes.
This document has been peer reviewed.