Investigation of growth, development, and factors associated with injury in elite schoolboy footballers: prospective study

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 27 February 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b490

Do talented young football players become elite adults?

Dear authors,

I would like to congratulate you for the quality of your study. It is
indeed very important, for both scientists and coaches, to share data on
the effect of maturity on performance and other sports related variables.
It is also very important to have such data available in the literature
from elite academies, as yours.

I agree that evaluation of skeletal age should be part of assessment
in high level football clubs. This is for two reasons: a) to evaluate
physical fitness tests bearing in mind the biological age of the player,
and b) to create training groups according to the biological and not
chronological age.

My major concern at this point relates to the possible negative
effect of excess, pre-mature stress on these young football players. Is it
possible that psychological overload due to more demanding training and
games for early maturers be detrimental to their sports development?

One final point. Since authors have longitudinal information for
these football players it would be very interesting to see data on the
“windows of opportunity” and how this is influenced by the biological age.


George Nassis, MSc, PhD

Department of Sports Medicine and Biology of Exercise, Faculty of
Physical Education and Sports Science, University of Athens, Greece

Exercise Physiologist-Sports Scientist

Head of Panathinaikos Performance Lab,
PANATHINAIKOS Football Club, Greece

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

20 April 2009
George Nassis, PhD
Department of Sports Medicine and Biology of Exercise, University of Athens
University of Athens & Panathinaikos Football Club