Thirty Percent of Female Footballers Terminate Their Careers Due to Injury: A Retrospective Study Among Polish Former Players

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Female football is becoming an increasingly popular women’s team sports discipline around the world. The Women’s Football Committee in the Polish Football Association has developed a long-term strategic plan to popularize the discipline across the country and enhance girls’ participation. On one hand, it is postulated to increase the number of female footballers, and on the other hand, it is crucial to decrease the number of girls quitting football prematurely. Objective: To find the reasons for sports career termination among female football players. Design: Cross-sectional with retrospective information about reasons of career termination. Setting: Online questionnaire was filled out by online access. Participants: Ninety-three former female footballers. Main Outcome Measures: Factors leading to career termination. Methods: Participants completed the online questionnaire. The analysis was performed referring to 2 groups: “injury group”—in which the injury was the main reason for quitting football, and “other group”—in which the female player stopped playing football due to all other factors. Results: Thirty percent of former Polish female football players terminated their career due to a long-term treatment for an injury. Over 27% (27.7%) females had ended their careers because they were not able to reconcile sports with work/studying. Over 10% (10.8%) of former football players reported that becoming a wife and/or mother was the reason for career termination. Losing motivation and interest in the sport was reported by 9.2% (n = 6) of present study participants who decided to terminate the career due to noninjury reasons. Conclusions: The results clearly show that more effort is needed to support female football players, especially after an injury, so that they do not quit the sport voluntarily.

Grygorowicz is with the Department of Spondyloortopaedics and Biomechanics of the Spine, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznań, Poland. Grygorowicz, Michałowska, Jurga, and Piontek are with Rehasport Clinic, FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence, Poznań, Poland. Michałowska is also with the Institute of Applied Mechanics, Poznan University of Technology, Poznań, Poland. Piontek and Kotwicki are with Spinal Disorders Unit, Department of Orthopaedics and Children’s Traumatology, Poznan University of Medical Science, Poznań, Poland. Jakubowska is with the Institute of Sociology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland.

Grygorowicz (monika.grygorowicz@rehasport.pl) is corresponding author.
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