Background: Soccer is the world`s largest organized sport both among men and women. Women`s soccer has grown fast over the last decades and has become an intensive and complex contact sport, associated with a high rate of injuries. Although the injury rate is higher in men`s soccer, the incidence of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries seems to be higher among women. Few studies have been carried out on ACL injuries in women`s soccer in Norway. The aim of the present study is to investigate the incidence of ACL reconstructions in women soccer in Norway the last three years. We also want to compare the incidence between female and male players
Methods: The Norwegian National Knee Ligament Registry (NKLR) is a prospective surveillance system for monitoring the outcome of cruciate ligament surgery. NKLR collects information on all cases of cruciate ligament reconstruction in Norway, and was established on June 7, 2004. We used this registry and the number of soccer players in the respective age groups provided by the National Norwegian Soccer Federation (NFF) to calculate the incidence of cruciate ligament surgeries in soccer in Norway during a three year period from June 2004 to June 2007. We compared the incidence between men and women in the age 13 40.
Results: A total of 1596 primary anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions sustained in soccer were registered during the three year period (29 % girls and 71 % boys). This shows an incidence of 8 per 1000 player and 7, 7 per 1000 player among girls and boys, respectively. In the age group 13 19 the incidence is 6, 6 per 1000 player for the girls, and 3, 1 per 1000 player for the boys.
Conclusions: The incidence of primary ACL reconstructions was lower in our study compared to the incidence of ACL injury found in other epidemiologic studies. The result remained the same even when accounting for an estimation of non-operated players with an ACL injury. In the age 13 40 the incidence among female and male players was nearly the same. However, considering only the players between 13 and 19 years old, twice as many girls underwent reconstruction of the ACL compared to the boys.