Injury surveillance in a soccer tournament in Kenya
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The occurrence of injuries in sports and the negligence of the injured players are key factors in the early exit of talented players from competitive sport in developing countries. It is for this reason that this study prospectively observed and documented injuries to male soccer players who participated in the 2001 Moi Golden Cup tournament. A total of 24 matches out of 30 were observed and injury statistics taken while watching the matches live in various stadia around the country. The injuries were recorded on a soccer match observation chart. The injuries recorded were those that either led to a temporary stoppage of the match or first aid attention to the affected player. The data was analysed and descriptively presented. Among other findings, it was established that most injuries, 44(43.14%) occurred in the preliminary phase of the tournament. Most injuries, 50(49%) were caused by an opponent as a result of tackling or fouling, 28(27.5%). The offensive zone recorded more injuries 37(36.3%) compared to the defensive and construction zones, which recorded 35 (34.3) and 30(29.4%), respectively. Soft tissue injuries accounted for the highest percentage (77.45%) of injuries during the tournament. Away teams registered more injuries 58(56.9%) than home teams 44 (43.1%), while winning teams incurred more injuries 54 (53%) than losing teams 48(47%). Anatomically, the lower body was most affected by injuries, 67(65.78%). Based on the findings of this study, it is recommended that coaches and officials should lay emphasis on adequate preparation of players, provision of protective gear, observation of fair play and the proper maintenance of soccer playing facilities to avoid occurrence of unnecessary injuries.