Emergence of contact injuries in invasion team sports: an ecological dynamics rationale

Louis Leventer, Matt Dicks, Ricardo Duarte, Keith Davids, Duarte Araujo

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The incidence of contact injuries in team sports is considerable, and injury mechanisms need to be comprehensively understood to facilitate the adoption of preventive measures. In Association Football, evidence shows that the highest prevalence of contact injuries emerges in one-on-one interactions. However, previous studies have tended to operationally report injury mechanisms in isolation, failing to provide a theoretical rationale to explain how injuries might emerge from interactions between opposing players. In this position paper, we propose an ecological dynamics framework to enhance current understanding of behavioural processes leading to contact injuries in team sports. Based on previous research highlighting the dynamics of performer–environment interactions, contact injuries are proposed to emerge from symmetry-breaking processes during on-field interpersonal interactions among competing players and the ball. Central to this approach is consideration of candidate control parameters that may provide insights on the information sources used by players to reduce risk of contact injuries during performance. Clinically, an ecological dynamics analysis could allow sport practitioners to design training sessions based on selected parameter threshold values as primary and/or secondary preventing measures during training and rehabilitation sessions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-159
JournalSports Medicine
Issue number2
Early online date7 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


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