Background: No studies to date have evaluated the injury patterns in professional arena football. The purpose of this study is to describe the characteristics of general injury patterns in the Arena Football League. Hypotheses: (1) Game injury rates are higher than are practice injury rates, (2) a small number of injuries are related to collision with the boards, and (3) athletes playing on both offense and defense have higher injury rates than do athletes playing either offense or defense alone.
Study Design: Descriptive epidemiology study.
Methods: A retrospective review of injury data including 1199 injuries over a 4-year period from February 2002 to December 2005, inclusive of preseason and postseason practices and competition, was conducted. Data regarding the injured body part, position of the player, nature of injury, mechanism of injury, missed playing time, playing surface, and when the injury occurred were collected and analyzed.
Results: Injury rates during practice were 14.6 injuries per 1000 exposures and game injury rates were 111.3 per 1000 exposures. Few recorded injuries (2.2%) involved a collision with the sideline boards.
Conclusion: Game injury rates are higher than are practice injury rates. Athletes playing on both offense and defense did not have higher injury rates in games than did athletes playing either offense or defense. The sideline boards used in the Arena Football League did not appear to contribute dramatically to the injury rates. Despite the differences between arena and stadium football, Arena Football League injury patterns are similar to published collegiate football injury patterns.