Table 1 below shows the distribution of injuries during a match as reported in the UEFA injury study recently published by Ekstrand and colleagues (2011). The incidence of muscle injuries showed an increasing tendency towards the end of both halves. This could be attributed to muscle fatigue. Indeed, previous studies show that physical performance is lower towards the end of the second half and this increases the risk for muscle injuries. Another interesting finding from the literature is that hamstring strength declines towards the end of the match and this might be associated with elevated risk of hamstring injury. Injury risk may be greatest with muscle weakness during eccentric contractions.
Together these results suggest that 1) hamstring strength and in particular eccentric strength declines towards the end of a match, 2) training should include eccentric contractions for the hamstrings especially at the end of session.
Table 1. Distribution of injuries during a match: results from the UEFA injury study (adapted from Ekstrand et al., 2011).
No of Sprains
No of Strains
Total No of Injuries