Objectives: To develop and test a new video based method for match analysis that combines football specific and medical information to achieve a better understanding of the injury mechanisms and events leading up to high risk situations.
Methods: Football incident analysis (FIA) is a video based method describing incidents that may result in an injury using 19 variables and categories modified from match analysis. Videos from 35 of 76 (46%) official Norwegian under 21 matches played from 1994 to 1998 were analysed. Two football experts classified each incident on the basis of predetermined criteria, and their results were compared using interobserver and intraobserver reliability tests.
Results: κ correlation coefficients for interobserver and intraobserver agreement were very good for 63% and 95% and good for 37% and 5% of the variables respectively. Fifty two incidents were recorded (1.6 incidents per team per match or 94 per 1000 player hours), and 16 (31%) led to injuries (0.5 injuries per match or 29 injuries per 1000 player hours). FIA results showed that 28 incidents occurred while attacking in midfield zone 2 or the attacking zone, and 24 took place while defending in the defensive zone or midfield zone 1. Midfielders were exposed in 67% of the incidents, mainly in breakdown attacks or during long attacks by the opposing team. Of the 28 incidents during offence, only one was classified as having great potential to score a goal. Most incidents (70%) were the result of tackling duels both in the offensive and defensive playing phases. Of the 21 offensive incidents resulting from tackling duels, in 19 cases the exposed player was unaware of the tackling (passive duellist).
Conclusions: This study shows that football incident analysis is a potentially valuable tool for understanding the events leading up to injuries in football.