Are Hip Physical Examination Findings Predictive of Future Lower-Body Injury Rates in Elite Adolescent Female Soccer Athletes at Minimum 5-Year Follow-Up?

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Although elite adolescent female soccer athletes have unique injury risk factors and management challenges, limited epidemiological data exist for this population. Objective: To describe lower-body injury patterns and to determine whether a screening hip physical examination is predictive of future injuries in elite adolescent female soccer athletes. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: One US premier soccer club. Participants: One hundred seventy-seven female soccer athletes aged 10–18 years (mean [SD] 14.6 [1.8] y) completed a demographic questionnaire and screening hip physical examination that included range of motion and provocative tests. Interventions: At least 5 years after baseline screening, athletes completed an electronic follow-up injury survey. Injury was defined as pain that interfered with sporting activity. Main Outcome Measures: In addition to descriptive analyses of athletes’ injury profiles, associations between players’ baseline demographics and subsequent injury profiles were evaluated using chi-square tests, and potential predictors of injury based on players’ baseline hip examinations were evaluated using multivariable logistic regression. Results: Ninety-four of 177 athletes (53%) were contacted for follow-up, and 88/94 (93.6%) completed the survey. With mean follow-up of 91.9 (9.3) months (range 66–108 mo), 42/88 (47.7%) reported sustaining a new lower-body injury. The low back was the most common injury region (16/42, 38.1%). Almost half of all injured athletes (20/42, 47.6%) sustained overuse injuries, and 16/42 (38.1%) had an incomplete recovery. Higher body mass index and reaching menarche were associated with sustaining an injury (P = .03 and .04, respectively). Athletes’ baseline hip examinations were not predictive of their subsequent rate of lower-body, lumbopelvic, overuse, or incomplete recovery injury (all P > .05). Conclusions: Lower-body injuries were common in elite adolescent female soccer athletes, with over one third of injured athletes reporting permanent negative impact of the injury on their playing ability. Baseline hip physical examinations were not associated with future injury rate.

Cheng, Hunt, and Prather with the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Merlo is with the Ross University School of Medicine, Miramar, FL. Yemm is with PEAK Sport and Spine, Crestwood, MO. Brophy is with the Division of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.

Cheng (ChengAL@wustl.edu) is corresponding author.
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