No increased injury incidence in the German Bundesliga after the SARS-CoV-2 virus lockdown

TitleNo increased injury incidence in the German Bundesliga after the SARS-CoV-2 virus lockdown
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsKrutsch W, Hadji A, Tröß T, Szymski D, K der Fünten A, Gärtner B, Alt V, Meyer T
JournalArch Orthop Trauma Surg
Date Published07/2021

Introduction: The coronavirus lockdown in 2020 resulted in a worldwide suspension of professional sports. The first major professional football league to restart after the lockdown was the German Bundesliga. This study investigates whether the injury incidence increased after the restart of the season with only 9 days of regular preparation time and without any friendly matches in comparison to three control periods.

Materials and methods: In a prospective cohort study, injury analysis (at least 1 day of absence from official football matches or training sessions) of the German Bundesliga registry was standardised according to Hägglund et al. (Br J Sports Med 39:340-346, 2005) and Fuller et al. (Clin J Sports Med 16:97-106, 2006) for data collection and to previous publications for the validated use of media sources for injury registration. The study period after the lockdown in May and June of the 2019-2020 season was compared to three control periods: the period directly before the lockdown, the beginning of the 2019-2020 season and the 2018-2019 season final.

Results: The nine match days after the restart of the 2019-2020 season showed an overall injury incidence of 4.9 per 1000 h football. This rate was significantly lower than that of the previous season final (9 last match days, overall injury incidence: 6.9 per 1000 h football; p < 0.001) and not increased compared to the rates after the summer break (9 match days; incidence: 5.5/1000 h, p > 0.05) or the winter break (8 match days; incidence: 5.6/1000 h, p > 0.05).

Conclusion: The period after the unexpected break in the 2019-2020 season due to the coronavirus lockdown and the rapid return to competition showed no increase in the injury rate compared to the pre-lockdown period and a lower injury rate than in the previous season final. The unintentional mid-season rest with its potential for physical recovery and individual fitness training seems to have had a positive effect on injury occurrence.