F-MARC has been studying the incidence of injuries at FIFA tournaments since 1998 and as part of that research, the team doctors in China were asked again to report back to FIFA after each match. The majority of team doctors are now familiar with the standard F-MARC form and their data helped F-MARC’s Astrid Junge to conduct a full analysis of the situation.
Sadly, with an average of 2.3 injuries per match, China 2007 merely represented the next step in a negative trend as the rate of injuries in China was just as high as at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ (see figure 1). “While there is no clear pattern in the men’s game, we are observing a steady increase of injuries among the women,” lamented FIFA chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak. “Unfortunately, the number of injuries to women that lead to time loss has also increased.”
In China, the vast majority of injuries (86%) were caused by contact with a team-mate or an opponent. 27% of these injuries were the direct result of a foul. It would appear, therefore, that the women’s game is becoming tougher – and more like the men’s game.
As was the case with the men in 2006, all on-pitch treatment at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2007 was recorded on video. As was also noted with the men in 2006, there was a clear discrepancy here when compared to the injuries actually reported by the team doctors – only 41% of on-pitch treatment was reported to FIFA. The reasons for this cannot be explained until it has been subjected to closer analysis. To do so at this moment in time would simply be guesswork.