Prevalence of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury among Amateur Footballers in Enugu, South‑East Nigeria: The Need for Injury Prevention Programs
Background: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is debilitating to any footballer. The injury is sustained in different ways during sporting
events. There is need for injury prevention programs among the growing population of amateur footballers.
Aim: This study was carried out to determine the prevalence of ACL injury among Amateur footballers in Enugu, South‑East Nigeria.
Methodology: An observational study involving 825 of the registered amateur footballers in Enugu Metropolis. Oral interview and adapted knee pain evaluation form were used to screen for knee injuries and followed by Lachman and Pivot shift test to confirm ACL injury.
Results: The mean age of the participants was 22.7 ± 3.1. The prevalence of ACL injury was 3.6% among the study population (8% for females and 3.5% for males), 56.6% among the participants with a history of knee injuries. Nearly 37.3% of the injuries occurred as a result of torsion/twist, which is a noncontact mechanism, 3.3% due to overuse, 13.3% due to contact/person, and 10.0% due to contact/friction. 70.0% of the injuries occurred during a training session, while 30.0% occurred during competition. Furthermore, 50.0% of athletes sought medical attention from traditional bone setters, 6.7% from physiotherapists, 10.0% from medical doctors, while 30.0% had self‑medication.
Conclusion: The prevalence of ACL injury among amateur footballers in Enugu, South‑east Nigeria, falls within that obtained among athletes worldwide, with most of the injuries occurring from noncontact mechanisms during a training session. The prevalence is more in females than males.
Keywords: Amateur footballers, anterior cruciate ligament injury, injury prevention, Nigeria