Incidence of Injury for Professional Soccer Players in the United States: A 6-Year Prospective Study of Major League Soccer

Brian Forsythe, Derrick M. Knapik, Matthew D. Crawford, Connor C. Diaz, David Hardin, John Gallucci, Holly Jacinda Silvers-Granelli, Bert R. Mandelbaum, Lawrence Lemak, Margot Putukian, Eric Giza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Despite an abundance of injury research focusing on European professional soccer athletes, there are limited injury data on professional soccer players in the United States. Purpose: To describe the epidemiology of injury across multiple years in Major League Soccer (MLS) players. Study Design: Descriptive epidemiology study. Methods: A web-based health management platform was used to prospectively collect injury data from all MLS teams between 2014 and 2019. An injury was defined as an incident that required medical attention and was recorded into the health management platform anytime over the course of the 2014-2019 seasons. Injuries and exposure data were recorded in training and match settings to calculate injury incidence. Results: A total of 9713 injuries were recorded between 2014 and 2019. A mean 1.1 injuries per year per player were identified, with midfielders sustaining the largest number of injuries. The most common injuries were hamstring strains (12.3%), ankle sprains (8.5%), and adductor strains (7.6%). The mean time missed per injury was 15.8 days, with 44.2% of injuries resulting in no days missed. Overall injury incidence was 8.7 per 1000 hours of exposure, declining over the course of the investigation, with a 4.1-times greater mean incidence during matches (14.0/1000 h) than training (3.4/1000 h). Conclusion: Between 2014 and 2019, the most commonly reported injuries in MLS players were hamstring strains, ankle sprains, and adductor strains. Injury incidence during matches was 4.1 times greater when compared with training, while overall injury incidence was found to decline during the course of the study period.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 23 2022


  • Major League Soccer
  • ankle
  • hamstring
  • injury
  • injury incidence
  • professional soccer


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