Phys Sportsmed. 2023 Aug 11. doi: 10.1080/00913847.2023.2246869. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: Youth soccer participation, particularly among females, continues to grow worldwide. With the high incidence of sport-related concussion (SRC) in soccer, it is important to investigate if SRC occurs disproportionally by positions. Our hypothesis was to see no positional differences of SRCs, SRC-related characteristics, and outcomes among in female youth soccer athletes.
METHODS: Data were prospectively collected from participants at a single sports medicine institution between August 2015-April 2021. Female participants aged 8-18 diagnosed with SRC sustained during an organized soccer practice, scrimmage, or game were separated into 4 groups based on position: Forward, Midfielder, Defender, and Goalkeeper. Demographics, medical history, injury-related details, and outcomes were reviewed. A chi square test or Fisher’s exact test were used for categorical variables. Continuous variables were compared with Mann-Whitney or Kruskal-Wallis test.
RESULTS: Two hundred fourteen participants were included: 52 Forwards, 65 Midfielders, 63 Defenders, and 34 Goalkeepers. No significant differences between the groups in age, race, ethnicity, or previous concussion history. Differences in mechanism existed with Goalkeepers most commonly reporting Head to Body Part. Goalkeepers, which make up 1/11 of the total positions on the field, had a significantly higher proportion of SRCs compared to Field Positions. (9.1% vs 15.9%)At 3-month post-enrollment, there were no significant differences in reported symptoms or return-to-play between the different positions.
CONCLUSION: In youth female soccer players, goalkeepers sustained a higher proportion of sport-related concussions compared to field players based upon the composition of a soccer team. The mechanism of injury also differed among the different soccer positions. However, no differences in concussion characteristics, outcomes, or RTP were seen across the different soccer positions.