Factors associated with injuries among first-division Rwandan female soccer players
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Background: Female soccer has grown tremendously in the last decade. Studies have suggested that female soccer players are more susceptible to injuries than their male counterparts, and their vulnerability is due mainly to intrinsic factors such as their anatomical and physiological structure. Objectives: To establish factors associated with soccer injuries among first-division Rwandan female soccer players. Methods: In a descriptive cross-sectional study, self-administered questionnaires were used to investigate factors associated with injuries among soccer players. Results: Almost half of the 300 participants (45%) indicated having been injured in the three seasons prior to the study. More than half (52.6%) were recurrent injuries. The ankle was the most common body part injured. Intrinsic factors associated with injuries were age, excessive ankle range of motion, pre-menstrual symptoms, and previous injury (p-value < 0.05). Extrinsic factors associated with injuries were use of oral contraceptive pills, (OCP), competition level, use of protective equipment, and player’s position. Conclusions: The large number of recurring injuries was notable, emphasizing the importance of prevention strategies and access to adequately trained medical personnel as research has shown a significant reduction in the prevalence of recurring injuries after the introduction of effective prevention programmes.