The popularity of soccer has never been higher than it is at present with the 1994 World Cup in the U.S. starting the process of making the sport successful. In 2018, statistics reported by Forbes showed soccer was the favorite sport of seven percent of the nation, a four percent rise over a four-year period. Participation in soccer is even greater with many players, coaches, and parents looking to make sure they have the knowledge to keep their loved ones safe when playing the beautiful game.

Concussions Are Possible

In the U.S., the sport of soccer has often been seen as less aggressive and contact-oriented than other sports such as football. However, concussions are possible and in the current climate of concern over serious brain injuries, the problem of concussion is of great importance. A concussion in soccer can be caused by a collision involving the head, ground, goal posts, or another player.

The Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles reports the issue of concussion can be reduced in soccer with better coaching on how to head the ball properly. Players are always assessed when they have a head injury to make sure they are not affected by a concussion or a delayed reaction to a concussion. When a concussion takes place there needs to be cleared by a qualified medical professional prior to a return to action.

Lower Extremity Injuries

The sport of soccer is largely played with the legs and feet with the lower extremities being the area where the most common injuries take place for soccer players. The University of Rochester Medicine reports these injuries can be largely divided into those caused by overuse and others from impacts and other events.

Lower extremity injuries caused by impacts and other events are highlighted by cartilage tears and anterior cruciate ligament injuries. These are joined by other forms of injury caused by blows to the legs during practice and games where fractures, breaks, and contusions can be a major problem.

Knee injury symptoms are generally caused by overuse and undiagnosed injuries with patellar tendinitis commonly felt by youth players who feel pain in their knee when playing. A similar injury can be felt in the ankle with Achilles tendinitis highlighted by symptoms including pain to the rear of the ankle.

For those injuries that are caused by blows to the legs during the playing of a game or practice, the need for properly fitting cleats and shin guards is clear. Over the course of a season, symptoms associated with knee pain can be treated with a few days of rest to allow any inflammation to be reduced. If knee pain does not subside, the issue of how to move forward with treatment should be addressed by a medical professional.

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Soccer injuries can come from a number of areas and should be treated with care and respect. Any player who is injured should not retake the field until they have medical clearance and are comfortable in doing so. For overuse and strain injuries, the correct preparation before practice and before playing a game should be followed at all times. The first steps to moving forward with your preparation are to make sure the body is ready to play or practice.

A few tips for preparing for practice include completing a few laps of the soccer field before starting practice to raise the heart rate and prepare the body for moving a lot. Stretching is always important but should be done correctly to make sure all players are ready to move and the chances of muscle and ligament injuries are reduced. Each practice session should begin with a few short passes and shots to make sure every player is ready to play and has warmed their body correctly.