Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Influence of the COVID-19 Lockdown and Restart on the Injury Incidence and Injury Burden in Men’s Professional Football Leagues in 2020: The UEFA Elite Club Injury Study

Wald�n, Markus; Ekstrand, Jan; H�gglund, Martin; McCall, Alan; Davison, Michael; Hall�n, Anna; Bengtsson, H�kan


Markus Wald�n

Jan Ekstrand

Martin H�gglund

Michael Davison

Anna Hall�n

H�kan Bengtsson


Studies on football and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have mainly focused on the lockdown consequences for player fitness, the resumption of football training, and how to safely restart the league play, but injury data are scarce.

To describe the injury incidence and injury burden in men’s professional football teams during the pandemic year of 2020.

Nineteen teams in 12 countries prospectively registered data on player-exposure and time-loss injuries throughout 2020. All major football leagues were paused as a direct response to the pandemic in March 2020 and were thereafter completely cancelled or restarted after a lockdown interval of at least two months. Historical data from 43 teams in the same cohort during the five preceding years (2015–2019) were used as reference. Between-season and within-season comparisons were made for injury incidence (number of injuries per 1000 h) and injury burden (number of absence days per 1000 h) with 95% confidence intervals and interquartile ranges.

There was no increased match injury incidence or injury burden following the restart in 2020 compared with other time periods of 2020 and the corresponding periods 2015–2019. There was an increased training injury incidence and injury burden immediately during the lockdown in 2020, and they remained elevated also following the restart, being higher in 2020 compared with 2015–2019, respectively. The injury characteristics during the first months of the new 2020/21 season (August/September–December) were similar between the five teams that cancelled their 2019/20 season in March 2020 and the 14 teams that restarted their season in May/June 2020.

There was no increased match injury incidence or injury burden following the COVID-19 lockdown and restart of the football season in 2020, but training injury incidence and injury burden were elevated and higher than in 2015–2019.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 25, 2022
Online Publication Date May 13, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date May 31, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 31, 2022
Journal Sports Medicine - Open
Print ISSN 2199-1170
Electronic ISSN 2198-9761
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 1
Article Number 67
Keywords COVID-19, Epidemiology, Football, Injury burden, Injury incidence, Pandemic, Professional, Soccer
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations