Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Injury Epidemiology






10.1186/s40621-017-0127-6 Free full text



While head injuries and concussions are major concerns among soccer players, the multifactorial nature of head injury observations in this group remains relatively undefined. We aim to extend previous analyses and examine sex-differences in the incidence of head injuries, odds of head injuries within an injured sample, and severity of head injuries, among collegiate soccer players between 2004 and 2009.


Data collected within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Injury Surveillance System (ISS) between the years of 2004 and 2009, were analyzed in this study. Unadjusted rate ratios (RR), compared incidence rates between categories of sex, injury mechanism, setting and competition level. We also examined sex-differences in head injury incidence rates, across categories of the other covariates. Multivariable logistic regression and negative binomial regression modeling tested the relation between sex and head injury corollaries, while controlling for contact, setting, and competition level.


Between 2004 and 2009, head injuries accounted for approximately 11% of all soccer-related injuries reported within the NCAA-ISS. The rate of head injuries among women was higher than among men (RR = 1.23, 95% CI = [1.08, 1.41]). The rate of head injuries due to player-to-player contact was comparable between women and men (RR = 0.95, 95% CI = [0.81, 1.11]). Whereas, the rate of injury due to contact with apparatus (ball/goal) was nearly 2.5 times higher (RR = 2.46, 95% CI = [1.76, 3.44]) and the rate due to contact with a playing surface was over two times higher (RR = 2.29, 95% CI = [1.34, 3.91]) in women than in men. In our multifactorial models, we also observed that the association between sex and head injury corollaries varied by injury mechanism.


Sex-differences in the incidence, odds (given an injury), and severity (concussion diagnosis, time-loss) of head injuries varied by injury mechanism (player-to-player contact vs. all other mechanisms) in this sample.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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