Lesson

Epidemiology

Shoulder injuries appear to be an increasing problem for football players. 1 This is likely to be related to the increasing demands of modern football which is characterised by high speeds, pressing, and marking. Goalkeepers appear to be the players who are at most risk of sustaining a shoulder injury. Many researchers have reported that goalkeepers are more likely, than outfield players, to injure their upper limb. 2

Shoulder injuries accounted for 3.8% and 4.4% of all injuries sustained during the Athens Olympic Games and during the European Championships in 2004. 3 Data collected by F-MARC during the Japan/Korea World Cup (2002) and Germany World Cup (2006) competitions reported higher percentages of upper extremity injury (4.6% and 8.2%, respectively).

While shoulder injuries are not among the most common injuries sustained during football, they can be associated with a prolonged absence form play. A third of shoulder injuries (28%) sustained by professional football players are defined as being ‘severe’. This is because they lead to an absence from training and matches of ≥28 days. 4 In a study of the UEFA European Championships, a total of 34 severe injuries were recorded, two of which were shoulder dislocation. 5

Goalkeepers are likely to be more at risk

Football goalkeepers like Manuel Neuer place significant stress through their shoulder