Public defence of doctoral thesis | Training load and health problems in football – More complex than we first thought? | Torstein Dalen-Lorentsen, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, December 16, 2021

On Thursday, December 16, 2021, at 09:00, Torstein Dalen-Lorentsen will present and defend his dissertation Training load and health problems in football – More complex than we first thought? at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences (NIH), in Auditorium Innsikt.

Sudden increase in training load has been linked to increased risk of injuries and illnesses (health problems). In the past years, researchers have claimed that easy-to-use calculations can precisely estimate how much training load can increase without increasing the risk of health problems. In this PhD-project, we found that it’s not possible to assess risk of health problems based on training load, and that the studies claiming this has substantial methodological weaknesses. Moreover, we found that using an one-size-fits-all approach of training load management did not reduce the risk of health problems among almost 500 elite-youth footballers of both sexes.

Despite a lack of models accurately estimating risk based on training load and lack of evidence for its preventive effect, we should still use training load management. Without more complex models, we should lean on the basic training principles and follow an even progression of training load that is based on the coaches’ experience and the players’ need.

This PhD-project also investigated whether the match congested 2020 Norwegian premier league (Eliteserien) had different injury characteristics compared to the normal 2019-season. We found no differences.

Most important findings:

      • It is not possible to estimate health problem risk based on training load.
      • Training load management using an one-size-fits-all approach did not reduce health problems among 500 elite-youth footballers
      • When implementing health problem preventive measures, a focus on performance is equally important as a focus of prevention
      • Coaches and players have a symbiotic relationship when it comes to implementation of health problem preventive measures
      • Playing a match-congested season can be a safe alternative for the Norwegian Eliteserien

Review Committee

The review committee consists of Hege Grindem, Associate Professor, Department of Sports Medicine, NIH (chair); Dr. Michel S. Brink, Center for Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen (1st opponent); and Professor Franco Impellizzeri, Human Performance Research Centre, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney (2nd opponent).


Torstein Dalen-Lorentsen’s main supervisor has been Professor Thor Einar Andersen, Department of Sports Medicine, NIH. Benjamin Clarsen, PT PhD, Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, NIH, and John Bjørneboe, MD PhD, Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, NIH, have been assistant supervisors.


09:00-09:45 Trial lecture:”How can adherence to sports injury and illness prevention measures improve and do contemporary models of health behavior play a role?”

13:00-16:00 Public defence of dissertation

General Information

The event is open to everyone in situ, and streamed on YouTube as well.


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