How To Avoid Soccer Injuries
While injuries in football get a tremendous amount of attention, soccer has its share of injuries. It ranks high for concussions, and female soccer players have a large number of serious injuries, like ACL tears. What can be done to keep soccer players safe?
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When we think of sport-related concussions, football probably comes to mind, but they can occur in other sports too!
If you have children who play soccer, one question worth asking is whether your children should be heading the ball.
Anterior cruciate ligament tears are devastating knee injuries for athletes. We probably can never eliminate all ACL injuries in sports, but let's try to prevent them.
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Frequently Asked Questions on Soccer Injuries
- +What can we do to decrease concussions in soccer?
-What can we do to decrease concussions in soccer?Boys’ and girls’ soccer both have high rates of concussions. Scientists debate the long-term effects of heading the soccer ball, but we can work to prevent serious brain injuries in the sport. We need to teach proper heading techniques to decrease the chance of head-to-head contact with another player and also teach proper landing techniques to try to prevent players hitting their heads on the ground. We might also consider placing pads on the goalposts to protect goalkeepers.
- +Why are girls who play soccer at risk for ACL injuries?
-Why are girls who play soccer at risk for ACL injuries?It has been shown in many studies that girls have a significantly higher rate of ACL injuries of the knee than their male counterparts. Depending on the age group and competition level studied, some researchers have found that females are anywhere from 2 to 10 times more likely to tear their ACL’s than males. There have been many theories proposed about the underlying reasons for the higher risk, including menstrual cycles, wider pelvises, smaller knee ligaments, and others. But the reason appears to be related more to how girls land from jumps and how they turn.
- +What does an ACL injury prevention program entail?
-What does an ACL injury prevention program entail?ACL injury prevention programs aim to resolve the underlying factors contributing to these noncontact injuries. Usually they consist of 10to 15 minutes of simple exercises that replace traditional warm-up exercises. They develop neuromuscular balance and coordination throughout the lower extremity and teach proper landing and turning mechanics. Generally sports medicine programs, physical therapists and athletic trainers teach these programs to sports teams. They can instruct the athletes and demonstrate the proper ways to do each movement. They can watch and correct players’ bad form. Then the players perform the exercises daily before and during the season.
- +Should young soccer players be allowed to head the ball?
-Should young soccer players be allowed to head the ball?The long-term effects of repetitive heading of a soccer ball and whether that activity can cause brain injury have come under more scrutiny in recent years. Scientists have estimated that the average soccer header delivers forces equivalent to those from a boxer’s punch. Over time, those forces might take a cumulative toll. A 2013 study found changes in the white matter of the brains of players who headed the ball more than 885 to 1550 times per year. It doesn’t just appear to be changes found on MRI. The researchers found that players who headed a ball more than 1800 times per year had poorer memory scores than did players who headed the ball less often.