The epidemiology of, and risk factors to soccer related injuries among male high school student soccer players in Kigali, Rwanda
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world with 270 million active soccer players. Among all sports, soccer causes many injuries in high school players. Soccer injuries are due to the influence of intrinsic risk factors like age, the immature musculoskeletal system, previous injuries, overuse injuries, inadequate rehabilitation, aerobic fitness, body size, limb dominance, flexibility, muscle strength, muscle imbalance and reaction time, level of competition, skill level and extrinsic risk factors like use of protective equipment, playing surface and shoes type. Information on soccer injuries can help in preparing proper preventing programs in high schools. Despite the importance in providing enough information, no study has been done on soccer related injuries in Rwandan high schools. The aim of this study was to determine the epidemiology of, and risk factors to soccer related injuries among male high school student soccer players in Kigali, Rwanda. A cross-sectional retrospective quantitative study design using quantitative method is used. Among 30 high schools identified in Kigali only 12 had male soccer teams. All 12 teams participated in this study with 336 soccer players. A self-administered questionnaire using closed-ended questions was used. SPSS software program 19.0 version was used for data analysis. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. Inferential statistics such as cross-tabulations were used to test for significant risk factors contributing to injuries. Chi-square test was used to test for significant relationship between risk factors and injuries at level of significance p-value<0.05. Permission and ethical clearance was requested from Senate Research Grant and Study Leave Committee (UWC) and the Ministry of Education. Informed consent were signed by participants and the parents of those who were under 18 years. Participation was voluntary and participants could withdraw from the study at any time. The injury prevalence was high during matches (77.5%) compared to training (32.5%).The ankle was the most affected joint (26.6%). Defenders were the most affected players (22.6%). The majority of injuries were the result of collision (24.2%). The majority of participants did not perform warming-up and cooling-down exercise during training (71.2%) and during matches (56.3%). Most of participants did not wear protective equipment (61.6%). Of those who did, only 7% wore it always. A significant number of injuries occurred because no protective equipment was worn. Only 33.7% soccer players received professional injury management. Of the 33.7% that received professional management, only 39% were medically cleared to return to play. The results of the study confirm that many Rwandan high school soccer players sustain more injuries during match sessions. The poor performance of warm-up and cooling-down, starting age, surface condition and not using protective equipment are significant risk factors for injury in male soccer players in high school. The study highlighted the need to start prevention efforts at club level in order to curtail the high injury prevalence at provincial and national levels.