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Our research

Continuous research keeps us ahead of the game, both in adapting sports medicine to the changing needs of modern footballers and by improving our understanding of injuries.

AFP via Getty Images

With the expert support of specialist doctors and professors, we are conducting several important studies to increase the health and safety of players taking part in our competitions.

Injury study

Since 2001, we have run a research programme that assesses player safety throughout each season of the men’s and women’s Champions Leagues. By monitoring risk and severity, patterns and trends, we have deepened our knowledge of sports injuries. In 2004, the programme was expanded to cover teams participating in the EUROs with the Nations League added in 2022/23.

We deliver mid-season and end-of-season reports to each participating club for performance benchmarking; national teams receive a report after our tournament finals.

UEFA elite club injury study (2019/20) 

UEFA women's elite club injury study (2019/20)

Concussion and head injuries study

After several high-profile concussions in UEFA competitions, we launched our first concussion awareness campaign in 2019 to educate players, coaches, doctors, referees and the wider public on how to respond to a head injury during a match. We also require every team taking part in our competitions to sign the UEFA Concussion Charter, which lays out best practice criteria for managing concussion.

"We hope the campaign will raise greater awareness of the need to take all head injuries seriously."

Tim Meyer, chair of the UEFA Medical Committee

UEFA also supports an international research group made up of associations and universities from four countries: the Norwegian Football Association, the Turkish Football Federation, the Croatian Football Federation and the German Football Association, the Arctic University in Tromsø, Acıbadem University, Split University and Saarland University. In 2023, the group was awarded an Erasmsus+ grant to strengthen concussion awareness, prevention and management models across European youth football.

Our pre-competition medical examinations now include neurological baseline screenings so doctors can assess players’ well-being after they sustain a head injury. We have also introduced a medical video review system, which allows doctors to instantly check the mechanics behind a potential concussion.

In June 2020, UEFA issued heading guidelines for national associations, coaches and parents to safeguard young footballers. These were drawn up by our Medical Committee and our heading guidelines expert panel.

UEFA concussion awareness campaign

UEFA Medical Research Grant Programme

Supported by the UEFA Academy, the Medical Research Grant Programme is designed for academics conducting research into football players’ health and well-being that will guide medical decision-making. We offer up to €30,000 for general research into women’s football for a duration of one year. Once completed, the studies are shared with all 55 European national associations.

Medical sciences awards

2019/20 The UEFA 120-minute study (Ioannis Fatouros) 2019/20
Understanding the recovery time course in elite football referees during a congested match schedule (Javier Sánchez)
2020/21 Clearing the confusion from concussion: a multi-disciplinary approach to examine heading (Bert Bond)

2020/21 High-velocity hamstring muscle training strategy: implications for injury prevention (Sigitas Kamandulis) 2021/22 Additional substitutions in European football: effects on individual and match performances, player load reduction, tactical influence, and promotion of young players (Stefanie Klatt) 2021/22 Effects of consecutive international air travels of different duration on sleep patterns, sport-specific performance and recovery indices of football players (Dimitrios Stergiopoulos)