Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
Youth football has similar injury problems to adult football, and injuries should therefore be considered a problem. An injury to a youth footballer could be detrimental to their ambitions and even worse, make them drop out of organized sports. However, research has shown that it is possible to reduce the rate of injuries in youth football. For example, the FIFA 11+ has shown a large reduction in overall injuries. However, prevention interventions in football have to date focused almost exclusively on interventions designed to alter intrinsic modifiable risk factors, for example through a structured warm up. Although training load seems to be highly associated with injury risk, no intervention has to date investigated training load management. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of a training load progression model on injuries in elite youth footballers.
Who can participate?
Male and female footballers aged 15-19 from one of the top three tiers in Norwegian Junior football
What does the study involve?
The participating teams are randomly allocated to either the intervention group or the control group. Teams in the intervention group conduct training based on a load progression model. The control group is asked to continue normal training activity.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
The knowledge gained will be of use to researchers, doctors and coaching staff working with all team sports. This program have no side effects and there is no potential risk involved in participating in the study. The total duration of intervention and follow-up is 11 months. The percentage of players reporting a health issue is measured using a questionnaire via text message on the last Sunday of each month.
Where is the study run from?
Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center (Norway)
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
January 2018 to November 2018
Who is funding the study?
Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center (Norway)
Who is the main contact?
Training load management to reduce injuries in elite youth football: a cluster randomised controlled trial
Individual training load management can reduce risk of injuries among elite youth footballers.
The Norwegian School of Sciences Ethics Board, 21/12/2017, ref: 39-191217
Single-center cluster randomized controlled trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Cluster randomised trial
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details to request a patient information sheet
Risk of injuries among elite youth footballers
The trialists will cluster randomise on a team level. A computer-generated block randomisation will be performed, with block sizes of 4 and 6 in random order. After a team agrees to participate, the principal investigator will open a sealed envelope revealing their group assignment.
The teams will be randomly allocated to either the intervention group (18 teams, 300 players) or the control group (18 teams, 300 players). Intervention group coaches will be given access to a digital tool for training load management. The coaches will plan their player's training weeks based on a progression model. The control group is asked to continue normal training activity. The total duration of intervention and follow-up is 11 months.
Primary outcome measure
Prevalence of health problems (percentage of players reporting a health issue), collected using the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center Questionnaire via an SMS system on the last Sunday of each month
Secondary outcome measures
Incidence of injuries, collected through previously reported method (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27034126) where the teams provide all time-loss injuries and illnesses
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Elite youth footballers competing in one of the three highest levels
2. Both genders
3. Aged 15-19
Target number of participants
Total final enrolment
Participant exclusion criteria
Unable to communicate in Scandinavian language
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Norwegian School of Sports Sciences
Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Planned publication in a high-impact peer-reviewed journal.
IPD sharing statement
The datasets generated during and analysed during the current study are available upon request from Torstein Dalen-Lorentsen (Torstein.firstname.lastname@example.org). All data is non-identifiable.
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Available on request
Basic results (scientific)
2020 results in https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33036995/ (added 13/10/2020)