August 16, 2005


Score-Celebration Injuries Among Soccer Players: A Report of 9 Cases (Bülent Zeren, MD* and Haluk H. Öztekin, MD, , From the * Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Traumatology, Karsiyaka, Izmir, Turkey, and the 2nd Clinic of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Atatürk Research and Training Hospital, Izmir, Turkey)

Methods: Over the course of 2 seasons (1996–1998), 152 soccer players were evaluated at an orthopaedic clinic for injuries incurred during matches. Nine players (6%) had injured themselves while celebrating after scoring goals in a match. The type of celebration, injury type, treatment, and mean duration of recovery were noted.

Results: Seven of the 9 patients were male professional soccer players with ages ranging between 17 and 29 years (mean age, 24 years). The injuries occurred when the playing ground was natural turf in 8 cases; most injuries occurred in the second half of the game. The types of celebration maneuvers were sliding (prone or supine) and sliding while kneeling in 5 cases, piling up on jubilant teammates in 3 cases, and being tackled while racing away in 1 case. Injuries included ankle, clavicle, and rib fractures; medial collateral ligament sprain; low back strain; hamstring and adductor muscle strain; quadriceps muscle sprain; and coccyx contusion. The mean duration for recovery was 6.2 weeks. Rival team players were usually not responsible for such trauma.

Conclusion: Exaggerated celebrations after making a goal, such as sliding, piling up, and tackling a teammate when racing away, can result in serious injury. In addition to general measures for preventing soccer injuries, coaches and team physicians should teach self-control and behavior modification to minimize the risk of such injuries. More restrictive rules, which penalize such behavior, may assist in the prevention of score-celebration injuries.

...act like you've made it to the endzone before?

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 16, 2005 4:14 PM

I keet the ball!! I keet the ball!!
Thank you Garo, now shut up.

Posted by: h-man at August 16, 2005 4:34 PM

Tiki Barber frequently quotes that motto.

Posted by: Matt C at August 16, 2005 4:36 PM

Science shows bumble-puppy is better.

Posted by: Luciferous at August 16, 2005 4:47 PM

The comments to the laws of the game (Soccer's name for the rulebook) relating to the powers of the referee address this issue. Celebrations are to be permitted, but they may be controlled, especially if they are found to be unsportsmanlike. As a referee, I would rein in anything offensive, such as we have recently seen in North American football. Also, any celebration resulting in delay of game would be prohibited.

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 16, 2005 5:28 PM

They have to celebrate like that. Since the average soccer game is a 0-0 tie, any given player may only score once in his life. Even the best of them have fewer goals than marriages.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 16, 2005 5:58 PM

"Any given player may only score once in his life."

In other words, they really have never been there before. (but the way you say it makes it sound like soccer players are computer nerds or U of Chicago undergraduates.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 16, 2005 6:11 PM

I believe it was Paul Brown who coined that one.

Why not? He also introduced the taxi squad, shuttling in plays from the sideline, coach-to-QB radio, psychological testing of players, the flanker, the draw play, and the facemask.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at August 16, 2005 9:49 PM

Raoul: I was a UC undergrad, so I know what it feels like.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 17, 2005 2:20 AM