Accumulated workloads and the acute:chronic workload ratio relate to injury risk in elite youth football players

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Aim The purpose of this study was to investigate the
relationship between physical workload and injury risk
in elite youth football players.
Methods The workload data and injury incidence of
32 players were monitored throughout 2 seasons.
Multiple regression was used to compare cumulative
(1, 2, 3 and 4-weekly) loads and acute:chronic (A:C)
workload ratios (acute workload divided by chronic
workload) between injured and non-injured players for
specific GPS and accelerometer-derived variables:total
distance (TD), high-speed distance (HSD), accelerations
(ACC) and total load. Workloads were classified into
discrete ranges by z-scores and the relative risk was
Results A very high number of ACC (≥9254) over
3 weeks was associated with the highest significant
overall (relative risk (RR)=3.84) and non-contact injury
risk (RR=5.11). Non-contact injury risk was
significantly increased when a high acute HSD was
combined with low chronic HSD (RR=2.55), but not
with high chronic HSD (RR=0.47). Contact injury risk
was greatest when A:C TD and ACC ratios were very
high (1.76 and 1.77, respectively) (RR=4.98).
Conclusions In general, higher accumulated and
acute workloads were associated with a greater injury
risk. However, progressive increases in chronic
workload may develop the players’ physical tolerance
to higher acute loads and resilience to injury risk.


Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2016