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Risk factors of injuries and injury prevention in youth football: a prospective follow-up and a cluster-randomized controlled trial (2013‒2015)


Injury prevention in youth sports is important in creating a strong basis for lifelong physical activity, health and wellbeing, and in lowering the costs of injuries.


The overall aim of this study is to investigate risk factors of acute and overuse injuries, and examine whether a comprehensive warm-up program is effective in preventing injuries in children’s competitive football.


The Eerikkilä Sports Institute in the City of Tammela is a national football training center in Finland. In each year, the center recruits 20 youth clubs for a comprehensive player-development program called Sami Hyypiä Academy (SHA). 1500 young female and male players, aged 10–14 years, are selected for SHA-program annually. The participating players visit the SHA twice a year.
This injury prevention study was carried out beside the SHA-project in 2013–2015.

The first stage of the study started in autumn 2013 with the baseline tests, after which practice and injury data of the players were collected for 14 months. The tests were conducted also in spring 2014 and autumn 2014. After the third tests in December 2014 the participating teams were randomized into an intervention and control group.

The intervention started in January 2015. The tests were repeated during spring 2015 and after the 20-weeks training to assess the training effects on players’ performance. The practice and injury data were collected also in the intervention stage. Study outcomes are sports injuries and their risk factors (including test outcomes), as well as study experiences, adherence and compliance of participants.

Expected results 

We hypothesized that by training program it would be possible to improve young players’ motor skills and body control to reduce harmful forces to the musculoskeletal system and thus decrease the sports injury incidence. We will be able to investigate diverse factors that can predispose a young player to injury, and experimental and behavioural factors that may restrain participation and adherence to preventive actions.


Kati Pasanen PT, PhD (primary investigator)
Assistant Professor
Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre
University of Calgary, Canada

Mari Leppänen
Research and Development Director, PhD


Räisänen A, Pasanen K, Krosshaug T, Vasankari T, Kannus P, Heinonen A, Kujala M, Avela J, Perttunen J, Parkkari J. Association between frontal plane knee control and lower extremity injuries: a prospective study on young team sport athletes. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine 2018;4(1):e000311 

Räisänen A, Arkkila H, Vasankari T, Steffen K, Parkkari J, Kannus P, Forsman H, Pasanen K. Investigation of knee control as a lower extremity injury risk factor: A prospective study in youth football. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2018;April 19th (online first) 

For all publications of this research, see the Finnish description. To find the list of publications “Julkaisuja”, scroll the page down. To open the publication links, click “Lue lisaa” and “Lue julkaisu”. 

Recent Presentations 

Examining knee control as a risk factor for non-contact lower extremity injury: A prospective study in youth soccer. Anu M Räisänen, Hillevi Arkkila, Tommi Vasankari, Kathrin Steffen, Jari Parkkari, Pekka Kannus, Hannele Forsman, Kati Pasanen. CASEM 2018. (poster in the SlideShare of the UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research)  

Last updated: 16.5.2024

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