gms | German Medical Science

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Annual Assembly of the German and the Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

26.-29.10.2011, Salzburg, Österreich

The prevention of injuries in American flag football in Israel: a one-year pilot study

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Yonatan Kaplan - Jerusalem Sports Medicine Institute, Lerner Sports Center, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Salzburg, 26.-29.10.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11esm048

doi: 10.3205/11esm048, urn:nbn:de:0183-11esm0486

Veröffentlicht: 24. Oktober 2011

© 2011 Kaplan.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open Access-Artikel und steht unter den Creative Commons Lizenzbedingungen ( Er darf vervielfältigt, verbreitet und öffentlich zugänglich gemacht werden, vorausgesetzt dass Autor und Quelle genannt werden.



Introduction: American Flag Football (AFF) is becoming a very popular amateur sport in Israel, with over 85 teams and 1100 players. Although it is a non-tackle sport, many moderate-severe contact-type injuries have been reported. The author conducted a two-season prospective cohort injury surveillance study (historical cohort) over the 2007-9 playing seasons. The purpose of this study was to introduce a one-season (2010/11 winter league), longitudinal, prospective injury pilot prevention program in an attempt to significantly reduce the incidence and the severity of sports-related injuries in American flag football in Israel (AFI). The results were compared to the historical cohort.

Materials and Methods: A total of 724 amateur male (n=610) and female (n=114) players (ave. age 20.49 SD=3.791) participated in the study (injury prevention cohort). Four intervention methods were introduced. The no pocket rule was enforced, mouth guards, ankle braces and a pre-season information brochure were distributed. All time-loss injuries sustained in game sessions were recorded by the off-the-field medical personnel. This was followed up by a more detailed phone questionnaire by the author, 7-14 days following the injury.

Results: There was a highly statistically significant reduction in the number of finger injuries related to fingers being caught in the opposition player's pockets as well as in the number of ankle sprains (p<0.01). There was no statistically significant difference in the severity nor in the incidence of facial injuries.

Conclusions: This pilot prevention program demonstrates that the intervention methods introduced, resulted in a highly significant reduction of both finger and ankle injuries. This pilot program will form the basis of a further two-season longitudinal, prospective injury prevention study, the recommendations of which will be sent to the AFI for implementation, as well as, to the various organizations responsible for the game of American flag football world-wide.