Score-Celebration Injuries Reduce Playing Time

Strict rules for celebrating goals are
demanded by doctors; © Hemera

In one of the most popular sports worldwide, extensive attention is given to the "trademark" score-celebrations performed by professional top-level soccer players. While the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) devotes a page of their website to these dramatic celebrations, there has been no mention of the sometimes serious injuries and loss of playing time that have followed these events.

Dr. Bulent Zeren from the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Traumatology in Turkey, teamed up with Dr. Haluk H. Oztekin, to report on 152 male soccer players from professional leagues in Turkey who had been treated for injuries incurred during a competitive match. Over the duration of two playing seasons, nine of the 152 players had injured themselves while performing a post-goal celebration.

The injuries ranged from ligament and muscle strains as a result of sliding across the field to rib and clavicle fractures as a result of the players “piling up” on each other. The most severe injury was an ankle fracture that required surgery. These injuries took place in nine separate games where the field was natural turf and was dry in all but the incident requiring surgery. Although each patient was enrolled in an early rehabilitation program, the average playing time lost was five weeks.

The researchers of this study conclude that exaggerated celebrations after making a goal, such as sliding, piling up, and tackling teammates, can result in serious injury. Not only should general guidelines be in place to prevent injuries, but coaches and team physicians should teach behaviour-modification to minimise injury risks. In addition, the research suggests that stricter rules should be enforced for penalising this type of behaviour in an effort to prevent score-celebration injuries.

MEDICA.de; Source: The American Journal of Sports Medicine