A new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics documents an alarming increase in soccer-related injuries. In a 24-year period from 1990 to 2014, injuries increased by a whopping 111 percent.
No doubt this is a significant jump, but it's a bit misleading. Over that same period of time, soccer participation increased from 1.5 to 3 million athletes—a 100 percent increase. As a consequence, the number of injuries increased because more kids were playing the sport.
"We certainly don't like seeing more kids getting hurt, but if one of the reasons more kids are getting hurt is because they are out there, playing and exercising, then that's a good thing," Scott Sailor, president of the National Athletic Trainers' Association, told CNN.
A closer look at the data provides some insight into the type of injuries soccer players are most likely to experience:
- Sprains and strains — 34.6 percent
- Fractures — 23.2 percent
- Soft tissue injuries — 21.9 percent
- Concussions — 7.3 percent
Soccer is played at high speed with rapid changes of directions. So there's always a chance you might fall and get a cut or abrasion (i.e., soft tissue injury) or worse, sprain an ankle, tear an ACL or pull a hamstring. This risk increases any time you move in close quarters with other athletes because of contact and uncontrolled movement, which can lead to more severe injuries such as a fracture.
Not surprisingly, concussions are prominent in soccer with headers and the potential for collisions. Although concussions make up a relatively small percentage of injuries, they had a 1,600 percent increase over the span of the study. This can be attributed to improved concussion awareness and detection. In the past, more athletes continued playing with a head injury.
So what can you do to prevent becoming an injury statistic? Check out the following articles to stay strong and healthy on the pitch.
- 3 Steps to Prevent Soccer ACL Injuries
- Why Ankle Mobility Training is a Must
- Improper Heading Technique Can Lead to Concussions