Thursday, February 4, 2010

Youth Soccer - Higher Injury Rates

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a report on injuries in youth soccer. Soccer has a higher injury rate than many other contact sports such as basketball, rugby and even football in some studies. Players that are less than 15 years of age had a higher injury rate. Indoor and outdoor soccer has similar injury risks although there is a greater risk for knee injuries in outdoor soccer. Girls are at higher risk for knee injuries and boys are a greater risk for ankle injuries. Most injuries are minor resulting in a one week absence from soccer. The concussion rate for soccer players is similar to American football players and ice hockey players. This is most often due to collisions and not heading the ball. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued some guidelines to help practitioners:

1. Make sure rules are being properly enforced.

2. Knee injury prevention programs may be helpful i.e. neuromuscular and proprioceptive exercise programs.

3. Make sure field does not have holes or excessive uneven terrain.

4. Goalposts must be properly secured.

5. Teach heading of the ball only when the child has proper head, neck and trunk muscles to head the ball with the forehead.

6. Be aware of the signs of concussion.

7. Wear protective eye wear (mandatory for past history of eye injury or if only one functional eye).

The guidelines also stress that soccer should be encouraged for it can provide important physical activity time for children, young adults and adolescents.

Download the full report.

Reference: Koutures, Chris G., Gregory, Andrew J. M., THE COUNCIL ON SPORTS MEDICINE AND FITNESS, Injuries in Youth SoccerPediatrics 2010 125: 410-414

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